Carolyn Stich is the owner of the Carolyn Stich Studio in downtown Holland. Her painting Joy of Spring won the Tulip Time Festival 2015 Art in Bloom poster contest. Carolyn has participated in the contest since its 2011 inception. "I love Holland. Holland has been so good to me. It has been a long dream of mine to be the Tulip Time poster winner."
Hopeful artists submit up to three poster contest entries. (Carolyn's was chosen from a pool of 120 entries created by 68 artists.) Tulip Time and Holland Area Arts Council representatives select 20 finalists from the submissions. These 20 artworks are displayed at a special reception dinner at which the winner is revealed. The other 19 pieces are then eligible to win the People's Choice award.
Prior to her 2015 win, Carolyn was the proud recipient of the People's Choice Award for three years running. Last year was her year to shine. She clearly recalls the moment her name was called. "It took my breath away, I couldn't even talk! It means the world to me."
Carolyn Stich's 2015 Art in Bloom win profoundly affected her life and livelihood. Seven year ago she opened Carolyn Stich Studio, in a space above the Model Drug Store in downtown Holland. In December 2014, she moved her studio to a storefront on Holland's College Avenue. Two short months later, in February 2015, she was declared the poster contest winner. "It could not have been more perfectly timed. My name was everywhere."
Her win brought increased recognition and increased foot traffic to her studio. Carolyn greatly appreciated the fact that Tulip Time organizers granted her permission to sell official Tulip Time merchandise at her studio; it was a great advertising opportunity. She sold mugs, posters and prints, all exhibiting her winning painting, Joy of Spring. She particularly enjoyed selling the giclee prints of her painting. Giclee prints are high-quality reproductions. She signed and numbered each print, saying, "It was a very formal process. I even had to wear white gloves to protect the prints."
Carolyn encourages future entrants to use a wide range of bold, spring colors. Above all, she gives fellow artists this simple advice: "Definitely enter—don't be afraid!"
Carolyn is proud of her win and grateful for the doors it has opened. "This win changed my career for the better. I could not have planned it any better!"
The Tulip Time Festival 2016 Art in Bloom poster competition winner will be announced in February. Click here for more details and to see the top 20 entries.
Written by Lisa Stickler, staff writer for West Michigan Woman magazine.
Photo courtesy of Tulip Time & Holland Area Arts Council.