GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (GRPS) – Twenty Grand Rapids Public Schools scholars have been selected as finalists in an annual art competition focused on clean energy-related subjects.

Freshmen, sophomores, and juniors from across GRPS were invited to participate in the SmartArt (Students Making Art with a Renewable Theme) Awards. In its 11th year, the competition is a collaboration between Grand Rapids Public Schools, Consumers Energy, and ArtPrize.

The 20 finalists were selected by a panel of art professionals from Cultivate, Grand Rapids Community College, and Grand Valley State University. Submitted artwork included mixed media, oil painting, ceramic, yarn, digital, ink, plastic, and more.

The 20 finalists are, in alphabetical order:

  • Samya Alford, Innovation Central High School
  • Keyla Arcos-Lopez, Museum High School
  • Emily Barrios, Southwest Middle High School
  • Ingrid Bott, City High Middle School
  • Angie Cifuentes, Museum High School
  • Jack de Graaf, City High Middle School
  • Nusra Juma, Ottawa Hills High School
  • Jana Kalumbula, City High Middle School
  • KenZie Low, City High Middle School
  • Jelaney Maldonado-Marroquin, Union High School
  • Alanna Miles, Union High School
  • Lizeth Nunez, City High Middle School
  • Jakelin Parada, Southwest Middle High School
  • Yarlin Reyes De la Cruz, Southwest Middle High School
  • Lily Salacina, CA Frost Middle High School
  • Barbie Sanders, Southwest Middle High School
  • Lux Schmitz, CA Frost Middle High School
  • Aeris Tuma, City High Middle School
  • Rory VanderPloeg, City High Middle School
  • Juana Zacarias, Southwest Middle High School

The top winner will be announced on September 15 in downtown Grand Rapids during ArtPrize and will receive a scholarship courtesy of Consumers Energy.

The top 10 SmartArt entries will be on a large banner hanging outside a Consumers Energy electric substation downtown at Fulton Street and Market Avenue.

"GRPS is committed to helping to cultivate the next generation of artists," said Dr. Leadriane Roby, Superintendent of Grand Rapids Public Schools. "Through our partnership with Consumers Energy and ArtPrize, our talented scholars have the opportunity to share their passion for improving our planet. I'm excited to see their work displayed during one of the largest art competitions in the world."

“We’re excited to celebrate the 11th annual Consumers Energy SmartArt contest, and this year’s work is nothing short of incredible,” said Cathy Wilson, Consumers Energy’s Executive Director of Corporate Giving. “These students have embodied the mission of learning about important clean energy topics by creating inspirational and thought-provoking artwork. Not only are their pieces beautiful works of art, these young leaders have displayed a deep understanding of why it’s important to protect our planet. We are so proud of these 20 amazing finalists and everyone who submitted an entry.”

The SmartArt entries will be on display through June in the auditorium of the Lyman S. Parks Administration Building, 1331 Martin Luther King Jr. Street SE.