Scholarships now available for artists entering the Art Walk Central competition

Back when Art Reach of Mid Michigan first extended the submissions deadline for this year’s Art Walk Central, it was mid-March.

The original deadline of mid-April had been extended to June 1, a decision made to give artists more time to save money for the registration fees required for entering the annual arts contest.

"When we first extended the deadline, maybe it was a little optimistic that businesses would be up and running by June," says Amy Powell, executive director for Art Reach.

"That was made in mid-March. It seemed so far away at the time."

As the deadline approaches and coronavirus-related uncertainties remain, one thing is clear: Art Walk Central 2020 is still happening, whether artworks will be displayed on the walls of businesses or in their windows.

There is a $35 registration fee for artists to enter Art Walk Central, a contest that will award nearly $11,000 in prize money to winning artists. There are categories for youth ranging in ages from 13 to 18 years old and adults that are 19 years old and above. Prizes are given away to each category in both juried and "people’s favorites" competitions.

To combat any financial hardships, be they related to COVID-19 or not, Art Reach board member Scott Mertes has decided to sponsor 15 scholarships for artists to enter the competition, reserved for up to eight adults and seven artists in the youth category.

There are no hard requirements for the scholarships. A brief submission form is on the Art Reach website, asking for a three to five sentence synopsis outlining an artist’s need, without requiring any financial specifics.

"Even if gatherings are limited to eight people or 20, we hope that the art is spaced out enough and outside. We want to still provide an art outlet for the community to engage in ways we otherwise wouldn’t be able to," Powell says.

Art Walk Central is scheduled for Aug. 3 through Aug. 22. The deadline for submissions, which are available online, is Monday, June 1.

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