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Stories to inspire you.

It's elephants and primates, birds of all kinds, plants and buildings growing from unexpected places. It's a representation of familial lines and the joy and pain of living. And it's all in pencil.

As her name was called and the crowd erupted in applause and cheering, all Mindy Castañon could think was "Why did I wear this? How's my hair?" She may be career-driven, philanthropic, and influential in her community, but she's still a woman.

The sound of battling in the name of style is stiletto heels clacking on a hardwood floor and the whir of aerosol cans of industrial strength hair spray. It's a low bass beat and the buzz of electricity, and for the winners of Style Battle 2012 This is Art, it's the sound of success. Chantal Nissim and Jenni Steele are Saugatuck retail shop owners, and along with their stellar team of hair, makeup, and photography experts, they threw creativity, color, fashion, and art into the air and caught the judges' attention and the grand prize–$2,000.

What mask are you wearing today? This is precisely the question painter Kathleen Putnam asks with her 2012 ArtPrize entry Who Is the Person You Hide? Behind our daily politically correct, people pleasing demeanor, there is a true emotion hiding, and Kathleen dares viewers to let it show.

The opening of ArtPrize may have been yesterday, but the season of creative expression started months ago for artist Barb Schilling. With a dozen blank canvases and paints of varying hues, Barb painted the progression of spring and summer as flowers opened their petals in her garden. Now, all who visit the City Art Gallery at 1168 Ionia can see what she sees in her yard everyday, and that is a beautiful thing.

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