May 30

LTAC 8: It’s not about the competition

Last week, we held the 8th Annual Legacy Trust Award Collection, an event that is particularly near and dear to my heart. We hired Breann Fuller as our intern for the semester to assist with the planning and execution of LTAC, among other responsibilities. She wrote the following guest blog for us about the experience.

Mary Ann


Breann setting up for LTAC 2017

Breann setting up for LTAC 2017



My internship began much like many others do, but ended much differently than most.

Seeing an event through, from beginning to end, is something a college intern doesn’t typically get to do. I couldn’t have been given a better opportunity than my internship with Sabo PR – not only did it strengthen skills that helped prepare me for the real world, but also fulfilled a desire to assist a community of artists let their lights shine to all.

I was given an assistant public relations and event planning position with the Legacy Trust Award Collection annual art competition for adult artists with disabilities. This nonprofit organization began years ago when Legacy Trust founder Bill Walker wanted to find a meaningful way to engage with ArtPrize. He created a competition for adult artists with disabilities that provides not only a path to ArtPrize but shines a much-deserved spotlight on their artistic achievements.

My duties to help the planning process run smoothly included many projects, including helping with media releases, developing a social media campaign, helping collect and document artwork, preparing art for display and setting up at the Grand Rapids Art Museum for the always-anticipated artist reception. These duties were like what other public relations or event planning interns would receive, but the outcome of my internship was so much more valuable.

LTAC 2017 Celebrity Judges: David Gage, director of financial development for David’s House Ministries; Diana Sieger, president of Grand Rapids Community Foundation; Stephanie Schlatter, owner of Stephanie Schlatter Art; Phil Tower, director of spoken word programming WOOD Radio, ESPN 96.1 and Talk 1230 WTKG; and Phil Weaver, president and CEO of Hope Network

Each year, four winners are chosen: two from public voting, one from a panel of five celebrity judges and one from the LTAC committee that is titled as the Lillian Perry Walker Award. The winning artists receive a $500 prize and support entering ArtPrize, which includes registration, locating a venue – in this case, the high-profile DeVos Place – and promoting the artists and their art during the three-week event that starts each September.

What many people don’t understand about LTAC, and I was guilty of this in the beginning of my internship as well, is that it really isn’t about the competition at all. Yes, it’s great to receive a monetary prize, and it’s even more incredible to receive assistance with entering ArtPrize, but the biggest thing about LTAC is giving these artists an opportunity to showcase their incredible artwork. LTAC focuses on the artists, not their disabilities.

LTAC Crowd

The crowd gathered for LTAC 2017.

The artist reception was more than I could have ever anticipated. A whopping 143 artists (a 42 percent increase from 2016!) and more than 500 RSVPs later, the evening was in full swing.

I was surrounded by smiles, laughter and great conversation. I met some of the artists, who were more than happy to share their stories with me and discuss what their pieces meant to them. Getting their perspective on not only art, but life, almost made my heart burst. I am reminded to look at life a little brighter, even with the wickedness happening in the world today.

LTAC Artists

Artists were proud to show off their work.

Happiness flooded the GRAM that night, and I am forever thankful to be a part of LTAC 8. It’s a memory that will stay close to my heart for the rest of my life.

If you ever have the chance, be sure to check out this awesome event that is held each year in May at the GRAM. You will not be disappointed. To connect with or donate to the ever-growing nonprofit, please visit or follow us on Facebook at Legacy Trust Award Collection.



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