Libby Booth, second place winner of the 2008 Tri-City Art Battle
Photo by Paolo Pedini
Article by Jeanne Lesinski

On May 15th the Saginaw Art Museum (1126 N. Michigan Ave.) will host the Tri-City Art Battle, where artists from around Mid-Michigan will have three hours to complete an original piece of work for cash prizes. While the artists work in a variety of media, ranging from oil to electric airbrush painting, the guests will enjoy the music of Traeder and Nathan K., refreshments and, of course, artist watching. "The guests might even want to ask the artists a few questions while they work," says Deputy Director Ryan Kaltenbach.

Among this year's contestants are Scot Ferguson of Saginaw and Warren Dillon of Unionville. Ferguson, a printmaking major at Central Michigan University who will graduate in December, is looking forward to the event. Having participated in the debut Tri-City Art Battle in 2008, which took place outdoors under iffy weather conditions, he is glad the Saginaw Art Museum will be this year's site, though he thinks that artists might feel a bit inhibited from being "messy" inside the Sargent Wing gallery. Ferguson, who cites hip hop music, snowboarding, graffiti, and street culture among his influences, has formed the Clubhouse Collective with a handful of other CMU students with similar interests. At the Art Battle, he plans to paint a large-format human portrait using fast-drying acrylics and fine-tip ink pens and Sharpie markers. He admits, "I'm a little nervous about the time limit with this larger size."

Like Ferguson, Warren Dillon is also a student, but a senior at Unionville Sebawaing High School who plans to study art at Delta College next year. Dillon, whose father owns Dave's Collision in Unionville, grew up visiting his father's shop and seeing what kind of magic airbrushes can wield. It didn't take long before this fan of the transform-your-vehicle tv show Monster Garage was using airbrushes himself. "I love the challenge of creating; I like to see all those hard hours pay off when I get the job done,” he says. Last year Dillon studied computers and printing in the high school's tech program, and this year he's studying art with Sean Gallagher, who encouraged him to enter the Art Battle. Guests will certainly want to find out (and maybe bid on) the snowboard that will be Dillon's canvas.

At the end of the evening, guests will vote for their favorite piece, which will win the cash prize. All artwork created by the artists will be available through silent auction then as well. Artists will receive 70% of the silent auction proceeds. The remaining proceeds will support programs and exhibitions at the Saginaw Art Museum and the Court Street Gallery. Food and refreshments are included in the $10 admission price.

Artists may still sign up to participate in this event, which promises to be a celebration of creativity. Please, contact the Saginaw Art Museum, 989.754.2491   or the Court Street Gallery, 989.992.5867 for more information about registering for the event and/or to purchase tickets.

© Jeanne Lesinski, 2010