Benjamin Gazsi, an undergraduate sculpture major in the West Virginia University School of Art and Design, has earned sixth place in the prestigious international art competition ArtPrize, with his sculpture titled “Earth Giant.”

The ArtPrize competition was held from Sept. 18 through Oct. 6 in Grand Rapids, Mich., and featured 1,500 entries from more than 1,800 artists. The 10 winners, who received cash prizes, were selected by public vote and by a jury.

“It’s a really cool, unique festival,” said Gazsi. “My favorite part was meeting thousands of people and showing them what I do.”

Gazsi’s sculpture for ArtPrize, titled “Earth Giant,” was created from a structure of wild grapevines, leaves and hay, all of which were gathered from the state of West Virginia, as well as chicken wire, burlap and concrete.

“Earth Giant” was displayed on the grounds of the Grand Rapids Public Museum for the duration of ArtPrize. Now that this competition is over, Gazsi’s work has been purchased to be part of a private collection in the area.

As far as his future plans, Gazsi is finishing up his Bachelor of Fine Arts senior project this semester and working on his graduate school applications for the coming school year.

Gazsi’s eco-sculpture, “Giant Bear” is currently on display at Coopers Rock State Forest, and he is planning on unveiling a new sculpture at Coopers Rock on Earth Day 2014.

Gazsi, of Litiz, Pa., is a senior.

“Since starting in the sculpture program here at WVU I have found my aesthetic niche in environmental and public sculpture,” he said. “I find that using natural materials bring me closer to the outdoors and what I love, and presenting the sculpture in public locations allows me to interact with every day people who might otherwise not see much art at all. For me this interaction with the public is the most rewarding aspect of being an artist.”

See photos from the construction of “Earth Giant,” as well as a time lapse video of Ben building “Giant Bear” at Coopers Rock on the ArtPrize website at



CONTACT: Charlene Lattea, WVU College of Creative Arts

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