Michigan State University

MSU Libraries Award $500 Prize to Winner of Art Contest

Cindy Hunter Morgan

In the midst of a pandemic, MSU Libraries remain at the center of academic life at MSU, scanning materials to send electronically, mailing books, and even supporting art. They recently awarded $500 to Michael Matias Brimmer, an undergraduate student who won the annual MSU Libraries Art Contest. The winning work will be displayed in the Main Library and available for all to see when the building fully reopens. Dean of Libraries Joseph A. Salem, Jr. said the contest is a way for MSU Libraries to support students, create welcoming spaces in the Library, and collaborate with campus partners. 


“We hope the contest inspires students,” Salem said. “We’re glad to offer it, and we think it’s a great way to create opportunities for MSU students to get some exposure for their work and some experience submitting their work. We celebrate and create opportunities for growth, and the art contest is one way we help cultivate this culture for students.”


The winning piece, a 48” x 60” acrylic, spray paint, and pastel on canvas titled “Nervous Man,” was selected by judges from MSU Libraries and the Department of Art, Art History, and Design.  Entries are kept anonymous during the process.  Submissions must be “gallery ready” (ready to hang or display in the library), appropriate for a public space, and conform to minimum and maximum size requirements. The competition began in 2010, and previous winning work also is on display in the Main. Library.


“I've been making art for as long as I can remember,” Brimmer said. “To have MSU Libraries acquire one of my paintings is a great honor and a huge validation of the many years I've put into my craft. With the prize money, I'm going to be able to get some very nice brushes, which are more expensive than you'd think – or at least more than I'd think.” 

Brimmer is a fifth-year student at MSU studying for a bachelor’s degree in fine arts with a concentration in painting. He was born in San Francisco and has lived in various places, but he has spent more than half of his life in East Lansing. He dad is a former professor in Communication Arts and Sciences.


The MSU Libraries Art Library is housed in a newly renovated area on 3 West of the Main Library. The collections support the curricular and research needs of undergraduate students, graduate students, and faculty in several departments; support programmatic needs of museums on campus; and support the reference needs of the community. Given the interdisciplinary nature of the history of art, the core strength of the collection is supported by essential holdings in Main and Special Collections.


The MSU Libraries are partners in the teaching, learning, research, and engagement missions of Michigan State University. As the information environment has become more complex, the MSU Libraries have emerged as a revitalized intellectual center on campus. The leading principles of the Libraries are to promote equal access to information and to create an inclusive environment that encourages intellectual discovery. 






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