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ArtPrize artist finishes piece after original destroyed in apartment fire

Jodi Martinez and her son lost all of their belongings in an apartment fire on Easter Sunday. This week, she has completed an ArtPrize piece that was lost in it.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Jodi Martinez has had a difficult year.

"Easter Sunday, we had a fire that just completely destroyed our whole apartment. We got out with the clothes we had on and our cat," said Martinez.

Martinez's old apartment at The Orchards Apartments on Four Mile Road was destroyed by a fire on April 9.

She and her son lost almost all of their belongings, including her Air Force uniforms and this year's piece for Art Prize. 

Although it was a setback, Martinez has now finished with a replacement that she's called "Renewal."

The name is borrowed from past experiences of starting over.

"We lost everything," said Martinez. "And so, with a new apartment, we had all new furniture now everything's brand new, starting again. I never thought I'd be here in this situation, but it is what it is and we're doing good."

The piece is made out of rolled paper, called quilling.

Throughout the frame, you can see lace-like flowers, even a butterfly.

It'll be up at Veterans Memorial Park, a long with 22 other artists.

Martinez said with ArtPrize now only a month away, she's proud of what she's accomplished.

"It was a lot of not just physical, you know, work on it," said Martinez. "Almost 50 hours I'm estimating. But mentally and emotionally, there's just, you know, a culmination of everything that's been going on and, and I wasn't even sure if I was going to be able to enter again this year because of everything that happened."

The 22 artists to be featured at Veteran's Memorial Park represent the 22 veterans that die by suicide each day.

ArtPrize  starts on Sept. 14.

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