Environmental-Themed Student Art Competition Will Offer Thousands of Dollars in Prizes for Seventh Straight Year

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – Sooper Yooper is once again teaming with the Grand Rapids Art Museum (GRAM) and the Wege Foundation to raise the environmental awareness of budding artists.

Sooper Art 2017, which runs Sept. 21, 2016 through April 29, 2017, is a student art competition with an environmental slant. All entries, which will be judged on the basis of originality, creativity and theme, must be related to the natural world or ecological issues. The deadline for this year’s contest is one week after Earth Day 2017.

Students ages 5-18 are invited to participate by creating and submitting an original work of art. Judges will present a $100 cash prize to the top 10 entries in each of three categories: ages 5-8, 9-12, and teens. One additional entry in each age group will be honored with a $250 Mark Heckman Special Merit Award.

The seventh annual contest is inspired by
Sooper Yooper: Environmental Defender, the children’s book created by the late artist Mark Heckman and writer Mark Newman about a Great Lakes superhero who battles invasive species from his headquarters in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Newman also wrote and illustrated the sequel, Sooper Yooper: The Quest of the Blue Crew. He is finishing work on a prequel, Sooper Yooper: H20.

“Education and the environment were very important to Mark Heckman and Peter Wege, both of whom loved seeing the smiles of students whenever they talked passionately about protecting the earth,” Newman said. “I am very pleased that this competition will continue to encourage the creativity and artistic expression of students, while also promoting a greater interest in our environment and the many important issues that lie ahead.”

Young artists can submit their 2-dimensional entries (no larger than 11” x 17”) to either:

GRAMStudio of the Grand Rapids Art Museum (Louis Street entrance):
During ArtPrize 2016: (Saturdays and Sundays): 1-4 p.m.
Sept. 21, 2016 - April 29, 2017: Saturdays, 1-4 p.m.
Final Day: Saturday, April 29, 2017, 1-4 p.m.

GRAM Main Lobby (101 Monroe Center NW):
Tuesday-Sunday, 1-5 p.m.

Students and schools from outside Kent County may mail their entries to: Mark Newman, P.O. Box 1368, Grand Rapids, MI 49501.

All artwork must include a completed entry form, which is available at the GRAMStudio or by downloading the rules below. If you have questions, please contact Diana Klein, Learning and Audience Engagement Assistant, at

Winners will be honored at a special reception on Sunday, May 21, 2017 in GRAM’s Cook Auditorium. All winning artwork will be posted on the website.

Click here to download Sooper Art 2017 Rules and Entry Form.

Click here to visit the Grand Rapids Art Museum website and learn more about GRAM programs.

Click here to “Like” and follow Sooper Yooper on Facebook.

Click here to read MLive’s news article about one of the past Sooper Art contests.

Click here to view a gallery of the winning 2016 entries.

Click here to view a gallery of the winning 2015 entries.

Click here to view a gallery of the winning 2013 entries.

Click here to view a gallery of the winning 2012 entries.

Click here to view a gallery of the winning 2011 entries.