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Varnum's ArtPrize Activity Supports Accessibility, Celebrates ACT Artists

September 19, 2016

Varnum's 2016 sponsorship of ArtPrize focuses on ensuring accessibility for people with disabilities and supporting a local nonprofit that empowers individuals with disabilities to learn and grow through art. The firm is also supporting a competitive award that recognizes artists of color.

Varnum has been a sponsor of ArtPrize since its inception in 2008, and this year's contribution supports AccessArt Lounge, which offers ASL-English interpretation, free wheelchair rentals for ArtPrize visitors, and art tour maps curated with mobility in mind. The lounge will also offer disability awareness training and mobility and access information related to venue facilities. The lounge, located at Fountain Street Church, will also feature a quiet room to provide relief from the crowds and energy of ArtPrize, which can be a concern for those with anxiety issues.

In addition, Varnum is honoring artists featured in ACTion Art, an exhibit and competition for artists with disabilities. The event is sponsored by Artists Creating Together (ACT).

"We applaud ArtPrize for acknowledging the needs of people with disabilities and providing resources to meet those needs." - Beth Skaggs, Varnum Partner

Three artists - Wesley DeVries, Jodie Dilno and Tyler Vonitter - were selected by ACTion Art to have their work entered in ArtPrize, and their entries will be on exhibit at the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel. DeVries, who has a degenerative disease which affects his ability to grasp objects, paints using credit cards. He will demonstrate his technique at Varnum's client party on Sept. 21, the opening night of ArtPrize.

"We couldn't be more pleased that our sponsorship of ArtPrize this year is in support of accessibility and inclusion," said Varnum partner Beth Skaggs, who has served on the Board of ACT for several years. "We applaud ArtPrize for acknowledging the needs of people with disabilities and providing resources to meet those needs. We are also honored to host artist Wes DeVries at our client event, to demonstrate that there are many different ways to express oneself perfectly through art."

More information about the ACTion artists can be found at their ArtPrize profiles, below.

In addition to the firm's ArtPrize sponsorship, Varnum is once again a sponsor of the Paul Collins Art Award, a partnership of the City of Grand Rapids, ArtPrize, and the African American Art & Music Celebration taking place Sept. 23 and 24 on Calder Plaza. The award was created to highlight and uplift ArtPrize artists of color. The competitive $5,000 award will be presented during the ArtPrize awards ceremony. 

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