With February 5 came the announcement of the Tulip Time Festival Poster winner: Carolyn Stich, the fifth woman to win the award.
The announcement was made at the First Bloom: Tulip Time Preview reception held at The Commons at Evergreen, honoring the top twenty artists and their work. This year's submissions, which included 120 works from sixty-eight artists, were reviewed by Steve Nelson, Associate Professor of Art at Hope College, who narrowed it down to the top twenty. From these, representatives from Tulip Time and the Holland Area Arts Council made the final selection.
This year's winner is an artist and photographer who lives in Holland, Michigan. Stich has illustrated ten children's books as well as filled a portfolio with commissioned work for various businesses around the West Michigan area, over the past fifteen years. Her artwork and photographs have been seen in many publications promoting the beauty of the Holland area.
Stich is originally from St. Louis, Missouri, where she studied commercial art and graphic design at Meremac Community College before continuing her studies at the University of Tennessee in Chattanooga. In 1993, she and her husband moved to Holland, where they live with their two children. She works out of her art studio and retail shop, Carolyn Stich Studio located in downtown Holland on College Avenue.
During Tulip Time, which runs May 2 – 9, Stich will teach a Modern Delft Art Class. Making her students feel at ease is her first objective. "I imagine myself in an accounting class—that's the same as what these people are feeling! I give them a lot of credit just for showing up," Stich said. "I start out trying to make it as easy as possible, and help students get a little more comfortable. I use humor. A big part is helping them to realize that their work doesn't have to be perfect. It's the imperfections that make each piece of art charming and unique." And, she joked, "If it doesn't quite work out, I can fall back on calling their creation a work of 'abstract' art. My goal is to make them happy."
Stich's winning work of art, "Joy of Spring," reflects her cheery personality. "I tried to capture that moment—that first green—when spring begins to burst forward." She spends her free time perfecting her craft. After working in her gallery during the day, she spends her evenings, often past midnight, sketching and challenging herself with subject matter. "I try to be as prolific as I can. The worst thing I can do as an artist is to rely on what I did yesterday." Last year she set herself a challenge to sketch and paint a pun each week, and post it to Facebook. "I work hard at my craft to stay fresh and new."
To learn more about Holland's Tulip Time Festival, or to purchase posters, mugs, cards and other items featuring "Joy of Spring," click here.