FARMINGTON — When friends in Grand Rapids, Mich. told Liz Stannard about the ArtPrize contest in the city, she started thinking of a way to bring the idea to Farmington.

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

And so the People's Choice Art Exhibit was born.

Starting next week, 67 artists from the Four Corners will display artwork at the Three Rivers Women's Collective Art Center. From Monday through the Spring Art Walk on April 12, the public is invited to vote on their favorite, and the winning artist will receive a $1,000 prize. The second-place prize is $750, and third place will receive $500. Two honorable mentions will each receive $250, and a $250 prize for student art will go to a San Juan College student. Winners will be announced April 13 in a ceremony at the Farmington Civic Center.

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

The show provides an equal opportunity showcase and uses nontraditional exhibit space, said Janet Burns, another member of the People's Choice committee. Artwork will be displayed at 15 businesses in downtown Farmington. Plus, people get a chance to share their opinions.

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

The contest features a wide variety of art, including paintings, sculptures and mosaics. One unique piece 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.


The People's Choice catalog, which features a list of artists and venues, will be available to pick up at businesses participating in the show.

Elizabeth Isenberg, Farmington Downtown Association government relations director, said the exhibit has the ability to bring the community to the downtown, showing off both businesses and artists to people who might not often shop there.

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

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

Hannah Grover may be reached at; 564-4652. Follow her on Twitter @hmgrover