'Spirit of Freedom' ArtPrize entry hopes to save wild horses

ArtPrize Spirit of Freedom

GARND RAPIDS, MICH. - If you have made your way to ArtPrize Nine this year, you may have noticed quite a few pieces involving horses.

It has lead some to calling the festival “HorsePrize” this year. They are an animal that seems to inspire with their power and beauty.

One artist at the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum is hoping to give back to the horses that inspire her.

"The horse is such a powerful animal," says Julie McDonough of Stanwood.

McDonough is normally a commissioned artist, she usually won't create just to do it.

But ever since she was a little girl, she loved horses and this year's "Spirit of Freedom" was a passion project for ArtPrize.

"The wild horse really represents the American traditions of survival freedom its an icon," says McDonough.

It took four months of work and help from the Newaygo County Resource Center to get it here to Grand Rapids.

"This piece is over 1,200 pounds of glass and steel," says McDonough.

"Spirit" is her third ArtPrize submission.

She came in with two goals this year -- make the Top 100, which she did, and sell this piece; sell it and give a portion of the sale to helping save wild horses out West.

"We have more horses now in government holding facilities than we do out on the range," says McDonough, "And it's a cause I heavily support."

In the two weeks on display at ArtPrize, McDonough has seen her love for horses resonate and whether they can afford the $35,000 price tag or not, they walk away with the intended outlook.

'People, when they first look at it don't see that its horses," says McDonough, "Then they read the story and they become more and more involved. They interact with the piece and they become more excited with it and that to me is the win."

If you have interest in buying the "Spirit of Freedom" you can contact McDonough through email at julie@juliemcdonough.com.

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