FARMINGTON — When friends who live in Grand Rapids, Mich. told Liz Stannard about Art Prize, an open art contest, she was intrigued and thought about Farmington.

"I began to think of that concept in relationship to our art walks," Stannard said.

The idea for People's Choice Art Exhibit was born.

As part of Art Prize, Grand Rapids sends out an international call to artists and allows each artist to submit one piece. Then the public is invited to come out and vote. The winning artist receives a monetary prize.

Starting next week, 67 artists from all around the Four Corners will be competing for a $1000 prize. People's Choice will begin Monday and culminate with the Spring Art Walk on April 12. The exhibit will encompass 15 downtown businesses.

Liz Stannard, a member of the People's Choice committee, said People's Choice focuses on members of the community voting for their favorite artwork.

"Prize money is the highlight," Stannard said.

The top prize will be $1000, but there will also be cash prizes for second and third place as well as two honorable mentions and a best student piece, Stannard said. The student prize will go to a student from San Juan College, she said.

Janet Burns, who is also on the People's Choice committee, said the show is unique because it is an equal opportunity showcase that uses non-traditional exhibit space and because of the voting.

"People get to say what they like," Burns said.


Burns said the exhibit features a wide variety of art, from traditional to non-traditional paintings to sculptures and mosaics.

One unique piece of art that will be on display is a mosaic created on an animal skull, Burns said.

"If someone goes and looks at all 67 pieces, it will be hard for them to say they didn't see anything they liked," Burns said.

Stannard said the People's Choice catalog will be available to pick up at any of the participating businesses. The catalog features a list of artists and venues.

The exhibit was put on in coordination with the Farmington Downtown Association. Elizabeth Isenberg of the downtown association said the exhibit has the ability to bring the community to the downtown, showing off both businesses and artists to people who might not shop there very often, if at all.

Burns said the downtown is important because it traditionally is the heart of the town.

"It's the origin of Farmington," Burns said. "Everything else has grown out of it."

Stannard said the exhibit "has the potential to make Farmington more of an art destination."

Hannah Grover may be reached at; 564-4652. Follow her on Twitter <a href="">@hmgrover</a>