Thanks to the many students who entered Sooper Art 2017, the art competition inspired by the
Sooper Yooper books by Mark Heckman and Mark Newman.

The seventh annual environmental art contest, sponsored by the Wege Foundation and hosted by the Grand Rapids Art Museum, drew a total of 384 creative entries and this made judging a challenge.

“Judging the competition this year was as difficult as it’s ever been,” Newman said. “After seven years, we continue to be amazed by the quality and range of art that is submitted. We are also very excited that the number of participating schools continues to grow, reflecting that students across the state are engaged in protecting the environment.”

Although there were many excellent pieces worthy of merit, the judges were limited to honoring a total of 11 in each age group. Whether it was a matter of originality or the choice of theme that made the difference, the judges’ decisions were difficult and purely subjective. The choice for the top award in each age group was especially hard as two or three other pieces were judged equally worthy. Please note that many of the works need to be seen in person to be fully appreciated.

The students listed below will receive invitations to a special reception celebrating the winners on Sunday, May 21, 2017 at 2 p.m. in the Grand Rapids Art Museum’s Cook Auditorium. A total of 11 winners in each age group will be honored on stage. Each will be presented with a certificate and a check for $100 as their artwork is projected on a large screen so they can pose with their award and artwork. The three winners of the $250 Mark Heckman Special Merit Award (one in each age group) will be announced during the award ceremony.

Following the presentation of awards, participants and their families will be able to view the winning artwork in a special gallery showing. Light refreshments of punch and donuts will be served.

Winners of the 2017 contest represented 23 different schools scattered across Michigan.

Congratulations to all of the winning students, including our first six-time winner, Eleanor Iorio; four-time winners Brianna Naughton and Purvi Raj; three-time winners Joshua Archer, Vishok Gunasekar, Sandhya Manivasagam, Nora Meadows and Iryna Zhurauliova; and two-time winners Dharanishree Dwarakanath, Divyashree Dwarakanath, Serafiina Ege, Sandhya Manivasagam, Iris Mo, Jessica Yang and Raha Zaman.

A link to a gallery of the winning artwork is available below.

Age 5-8 Winners:
Leah Aagesen, 7; Immaculate Heart of Mary School
Elliott DeJong, 7; Potter’s House
Dharanishree Dwarakanath, 6; Schroeder Elementary
Melanie He, 7; Schroeder Elementary
Charlie Host, 6; Immaculate Heart of Mary School
Luke Jackson, 8; Marshall Elementary
Jessica Lou, 8; King Elementary
Cora Lowery, 7; Immaculate Heart of Mary School
Pujah Raj, 7; Bemis Elementary
Arianna Rice, 6; Alpine Elementary
Ahana Singh, 8; Roeper School

Age 9-12 winners
Aubrey Benson, 11; Onaway Area Schools
Irene Cao, 12; Wyandot Middle School
Divyashree Dwarakanath, 10; Schroeder Elementary
Serafiina Ege, 10; Breton Downs Elementary
Iris Mo, 9; Bemis Elementary
Olivia Pitsch, 12; Nickels Intermediate School
Benjamin Sheng, 10; Bemis Elementary
Bryanna Tromp, 11; Nickels Intermediate School
Carol Wu, 12; Northville Schools
Raha Zaman, 12; Detroit Country Day Middle School
Iryna Zhurauliova, 11; Sandy Hill Elementary

Teen Winners:
Joshua Archer, 14; Hartland Middle at Ore Creek
Allea Burton, 16; Ann Arbor Community High School
Pei Xuan Chang, 13; Boulan Park Middle School
Gabrielle Eisma, 17; Calvin Christian High School
Vishok Gunasekar, 14; International Academy
Eleanor Iorio, 14; East Grand Rapids High School
Sandhya Manivasagam, 13; Boulan Park Middle School
Nora Meadows, 13; Hartland Middle at Ore Creek
Brianna Naughton, 16; Athens High School
Purvi Raj, 13; Boulan Park Middle
Jessica Yang, 13; West Middle School

Click here to view a gallery of the winning 2017 entries.

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

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

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.