- Sponsorship -

A New Kind of Flower Power for the 21st Century

Student Work Takes Top Honor in Consumers Energy Competition

Zoe Bultman says the theme of her winning ArtPrize entry is really pretty simple.

“It’s possible for natural resources and electrical and industrial things to work together, peacefully and productively,” the City High Middle School junior said of “Flower Power,” a large-scale colored pencil drawing.

Top 10 finishers in the SmartArt competition at ArtPrize

  1. Zoe Bultman, City High Middle, “Flower Power
  2. Desiree Jones, City graduate, “Grand Perspective
  3. Tatum Kovach, City, “Preserving Our Prints
  4. Jaidyn Pursell, Union High, “Sight of Energy
  5. Isabel Maternowski, City, “Solar Gain
  6. Eric Steeby, City, “Changes
  7. Ruby Biggs, Grand Rapids Montessori, “Renewable Energy
  8. Meaghan Gietzen, City, “The Power of Nature
  9. Katelyn Morrison, Union, “The Vision
  10. Hannah Summers, Innovation Central, “The Green House Effect

Photos of this year’s Top 20 SmartArt entries as well as a banner showing the Top 10

The potent combination of her message and artistry brought Zoe first-place honors in the SmartArt student competition of ArtPrize, topping nine other finalists from Grand Rapids Public Schools. The third annual collaboration between GRPS and competition sponsor Consumers Energy, “Students Making Art with a Renewable Theme” highlights renewable and efficient energy through creative artwork.

Forty student submissions were narrowed to 20 finalists last spring and to the top 10 in September. Three professional judges chose Zoe’s image of solar-powered light bulbs forming a flower, earning her an Apple laptop computer and a $1,000 college scholarship.

Zoe said she was taken aback by the award, given the high quality of the other student works.

“I was really shocked,” she said. “It’s kind of taken me a little while to come to terms with the fact that I actually did win. Once it kind of settled in, it’s really cool and it’s an honor.”

She said her concept germinated from Earth Day speakers over the years. She refined it by making several sketches with help from her art teacher, Anne Krenselewski. “She helps me with all my pieces, the composition and technique,” said Zoe, who has taken art at City since seventh grade and is involved in its environmental club.

An Environmentally Conscious Perfectionist

Krenselewski said Zoe conceptualized the piece on her own, and that her rendering in Prismacolor pencils “shows her exceptional skill with the medium” as well as her perfectionism.

“She worked for nearly two months questioning and fine-tuning the various elements in her drawing until she was finally satisfied,” Krenselewski said in an email. “’Flower Power’ and the accompanying artist statement are a powerful duo that reflect Zoe’s exceptional commitment to increasing our planet’s use of renewable energy and her immense talent.”

Five of the other nine finalists are also City High students or graduates, and City students have won the top award all three years. Krenselewski said that reflects the fact that art is considered a core subject in its International Baccalaureate program.

Zoe Bultman’s drawing, 'Flower Power,' represents natural resources and industry working together
Zoe Bultman’s drawing, ‘Flower Power,’ represents natural resources and industry working together

“I believe my talented students do well because not only do they have a love for the arts, they are given the opportunities to explore what drives their personal creative thoughts,” she said.

The second-place winner, 2015 City High graduate Desiree Jones, received an Apple laptop. The third-place winner, City senior Tatum Kovach, and fourth-place winner, Union High sophomore Jaidyn Pursell, received iPads.

Gift cards worth $100 went to the fifth- through 10th-place finishers. All 10 works are on display on the Consumers Energy building in downtown Grand Rapids, at the southeast corner of West Fulton Street and Market Avenue.


Top 10 SmartArt Finalists

- Sponsorship -
Charles Honey
Charles Honey
Charles Honey is editor-in-chief of SNN, and covers Rockford and Grand Rapids. As a reporter for The Grand Rapids Press/mLive from 1985 to 2009, his beats included Grand Rapids Public Schools, local colleges and education issues. Honey served as editor of The Press’ award-winning Religion section for 15 years and its columnist for 20. His freelance articles have appeared in Christianity Today, Religion News Service and Faith & Leadership magazine. Read Charles' full bio or email Charles.


Good behavior encouraged at home

For students learning from home, positive behavior rewards are still possible...

Discovering bugs by tying flies

Northview’s coordinator of outdoor experiences, a fly-fishing aficionado, used the sport to teach elementary students about macroinvertebrates and making their own flies...

Pen pals build bonds during remote learning

How does a teacher create get-to-know-you opportunities for her new class of third-grade distance learners?

Have books, will deliver

To make sure virtual students still have access to books, this middle school media clerk built her own online platform for the library, created a contactless book pick-up at the school and is delivering books to students at their homes...


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Related Articles

Online poetry, multimedia course encourages mental well-being for middle schoolers

A Grand Rapids nonprofit has made online writing and mental health materials available free of charge. At least one local middle-school teacher says the series is powerful and helps build community among classmates...

Equity and inclusion leader named interim director of UPrep association

The founding director of the Bob and Aleicia Woodrick Center for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at Grand Rapids Community College is the new interim director of Grand Rapids University Preparatory Association...

Through screens and technical glitches, learning goes on

In a year of forced online learning, teachers themselves have had much to learn in keeping students engaged and progressing...
- Sponsorship -


Engagement: The Most Important Measure of Student Success

Polls find that students’ engagement in their school work declines as they ascend the grades. Tests that don’t relate to their real-life experiences exacerbate the problem...


Food ‘angels’ support hungry kids through pandemic

They work all across Kent County, guardian angels with peanut butter on their hands and crumbs on their shirtsleeves...
- Sponsorship -


Maranda Where You LiveWGVU