ArtPrize 9 artist dies just weeks before competition; family still wants to win

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- There are a lot of entries in ArtPrize 9 that are grabbing attention away from the immediate downtown area. One of the biggest venues for ArtPrize 9 is Central Reformed Church off Fulton and College featuring a piece that almost didn't have a chance to win.

This large piece called 'The Orchid Tree' came 1,600 miles to be a part of ArtPrize, but almost was not eligible to potentially win any awards because this piece's creator passed away last month.

The Orchid Tree

A side hobby turned into a showcase of 130 different orchid species made out of recycled metal cans, but Dale Cote, the creator lost his battle to cancer last month.

Now Cote’s family and friends are honoring his last wish to continue forward with his ArtPrize entry. 'The Orchid Tree' took Cote 3,500 hours to complete over the course of three to four years and almost wasn’t eligible to win any awards.

The ArtPrize committee said there is not one single rule stating a deceased artist can not enter yet it is the combination of numerous rules that makes deceased artists ineligible. But this situation is different.

Since Cote completed his artwork before dying, 'The Orchid Tree' will continue to be eligible in ArtPrize 9. The committee says they are fully committed to work with Cote’s family if an award is won.

No matter what happens with awards Dale Cote’s piece 'The Orchid Tree' will honor his legacy even after ArtPrize 9. Cote’s family and friends hope to put this piece on display in Cote’s hometown in Alberta, Canada.

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