Entering (and winning!) the Loeschner Art Competition


Rachel Van Wylen. Japanese Garden, 2015. Linocut on paper.


It’s a chance to be part of our permanent collection.

The Ray and Nancy Loeschner Art Competition is for two-dimensional art (e.g. drawing, print, pastel, painting and photography) inspired by the grounds and collections of Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park.

The objective of the competition is to collect high quality work that would celebrate the beauty and inspiration found in our Gardens and Sculpture Park.

A $5,000 purchase award will be paid for the winning entry in addition to becoming a part of Meijer Gardens’ permanent collection.


2015 winner Rachel VanWylen (4th from left)

The 2015 winner was artist Rachel VanWylen. Her winning entry, Japanese Garden, is a beautiful Linocut on paper.

“Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park is a great source of inspiration for anyone working in the arts, since walking around a beautiful outdoor environment allows one to slow down and make space for creativity,” said VanWylen. “It is lovely to turn the corner of a path and come across a thought-provoking piece of contemporary sculpture or a dozen colorful fish darting about in the coy pond.  I’m not living in West Michigan anymore, but I miss being able to visit the gardens.”


Rachel VanWylen and her  collegue Jonathan Rinck visiting the Richard & Helen DeVos Japanese Garden for inspiration before creating her winning piece.

VanWylen would encourage artists of all abilities to participate. “I think anyone who finds the gardens inspiring should go ahead and enter the competition!  The process of getting to know the Gardens and responding to them creatively is a gratifying one regardless of whether or not you win, and there are so many delightful spots to discover in the Gardens.”

The Print.jpg

The finished print before framing.

VanWylen described her fascination with the qualities of the spaces we inhabit and the way we feel in those spaces. “The sense of awe I feel in the presence of mountains or reverence I feel upon entering a cathedral is immediate and visceral,” she said. “Similarly, when I visited the Japanese Gardens at Frederik Meijer and walked along its gentle, winding paths, I felt a sense of tranquility and quiet. This feeling was the inspiration for my entry to the Loeschner Art Competition.
“As I was designing the piece I drew inspiration from Japanese woodblock prints. My own piece is carved into linoleum, not wood, but the process is similar to that used in woodblock printing.  I also borrowed pictorial devices from traditional Japanese printmaking, since the strong diagonals and balanced asymmetrical composition in my design are typical of Japanese prints.”
Visitors can see VanWylen’s print hanging in the Peter M. Wege Library.

“It’s an honor. There are many pieces at Frederik Meijer Gardens that I admire, so being part of the permanent collection is exciting.”


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