Innovating Ideas In Art

Arrow Electronics and the Cherry Creek Arts Festival are coming together to bring you the Arrow Five Years Out Art Challenge. Through it, we’re inspiring artists from throughout the world to explore the notion of innovation and express what Five Years Out looks like through their medium.

The Cherry Creek Arts Festival

This three-day, world-class and award-winning celebration of the visual, culinary and performing arts is enjoyed by 350,000 visitors every year. Special exhibits, demonstrations and interactive family activities on "Artivity Avenue" complement the experience. Along with the annual festival, the Cherry Creek Arts Festival's 501(c)(3) non-profit mission provides art education and outreach programs in local area schools. Visit or follow us on Facebook or Twitter (#CherryArts).

The Art Challenge

Each year, artists have the opportunity to express the idea of innovation. The challenge seeks painters, glass blowers, wood turners, new media creators, digital artists and more from all over the world who can think beyond tomorrow and see what’s coming Five Years Out.

Through a competitive and collaborative selection process, a jury of regional artists and art professionals award $5,000 commissions to seven finalists. Their pieces are displayed at the annual Cherry Creek Arts Festival and then become part of the innovation collection at Arrow Electronics. One of the seven finalists will also be honored as the Innovation Award winner. In addition to receiving a jury-exempt invitation to exhibit at next year’s festival, the winner is also awarded $10,000.

  • The Art: 2017 Winner and Finalists

    2017 Winner

    Peter Clouse, Not Ashamed

    From a competitive, global application pool of artists, Peter Clouse was selected as the 2017 winner for his mixed media entry "Not Ashamed." Clouse received $10,000 and a jury-exempt invitation to exhibit at the 2018 Cherry Creek Arts Festival.

    1. Aaron Hequembourg
    2. Sharon Brush
    3. Amenda Tate Cors
    4. Amy Leigh Carstensen
    5. Dan Stiles
    6. Edrex Fontanilla
    • Aaron Hequembourg, Always A Driver

      Engraved Assemblage on Wood & Aluminum | Monticello, GA

      Sam Schmidt has always been a driver, through early childhood into a successful professional career. A career that was seemingly cut short by a horrible accident. But then technology came into his life, in partnership with Arrow, Sam is now a driver again.

      It is a great ending to a story, or is it a beginning, because when technology becomes tangible and effects a life, there is no end to the possible ripple of lives to benefit in the future.



    • Sharon Brush, Safe Passage

      Ceramic Sculpture | Santa Fe, NM

      My piece “Safe Passage” illustrates the phases of the innovation process. The “boat” form of the piece represents the journey. The white orb at the uppermost lookout of the vessel symbolizes the seed of inspiration. The spinning wheel in the hull of the boat represents the day-to-day labor necessary to transform the “Five Years Out” idea from inspiration to completed innovation.


    • Amenda Tate Corso, Manibus

      Mixed Medium on Paper & Wood | Des Moines, IA

      I have created and embraced a new tool with which to render a painting. Each of the five works represents one year. The works are titled to signify one letter from “Arrow” as dictated in the NATO Phonetic Alphabet for verbal clarity. Additionally, each work is labeled with a corresponding consecutive year. As a sequential group, the paintings represent the spirit of innovation and progress. An idea begins small, grows, takes form, restructures and expands, and finds ways to push the boundaries.


    • Amy Leigh Carstensen, Zen and the Art of Technology

      Mixed Medium | Tampa, FL

      The power of art is in its ability to resonate with and move another person simply by communicating with color, composition, and form. We connect with each other, and our greater humanness, through something beautiful. But to have that experience, we must be present for it. As society’s dependence on screens has increased, so has decreased our ability to connect with the arts.


    • Dan Stiles, Reaching Forward, Reaching Back

      Digital Art | Portland, OR

      Since the invention of the printing press, posters have been the king of public communication. But in the last 50 years this reign has been ended by electronic media. TV and the Web have taken this amazing commercial art form out of the public sphere and turned communication into a segmented private media experience. But what people don't realize is that many of the electronics they use rely on printed circuit boards to function. Using that same technology, this piece inverts the relationship and brings print media into the 21st century, and back into public, by making interactive art that can both communicate and entertain through the universal language of music.


    • Edrex Fontanilla, The Ethical Viewer: Perceptual Fog

      Interactive Sculpture | Cranston, RI

      Arrow Five Years Out inspires and actualizes a particular confluence of principles in my art making: that the innovation space is as much about the ethical practices in the expressive application, as it is the inventive integration of both emerging and established technologies. In the spirit of Arrow Five Years Out, “The Ethical Viewer: Perceptual Fog” is artwork that manifests creative innovation with technology, by fusing sculptural and computational methodologies towards accessible and socially minded art.


  • The Art: 2016 Winner and Finalists

    2016 Winner

    Todd Fraley, The Archivist: I will not let you fade away 

    From a competitive, global application pool of artists, Toby Fraley was selected as the 2016 winner for his mixed media entry "The Archivist." Fraley received $10,000 and a jury-exempt invitation to exhibit at the 2017 Cherry Creek Arts Festival.

    1. Anne Bossert
    2. Mark Aspinal
    3. Bryan David Griffith
    4. Jennifer McCurdy
    5. Steven Gutierrez
    6. Jen Lewin
    • Anne Bossert, Reliquary for the Future

      Wood sculpture | Fort Collins, CO

      The word, “relic” refers to something from the past. But in this case, the relic is the future, or more precisely, the promise of a future represented by a maple tree seed. The reliquary that houses this future maple tree is made from maple plywood, which are maple trees from the past. While mankind appears to be increasingly functioning within the ether, it is the earth, where we and the trees live, that anchors us all in the present.



    • Mark Aspinall, Platonic Challenge

      Mixed media acrylic | Crontone, Italy

      In this work, I have intended to symbolically encapsulate man’s search from the earliest times of civilization to the present day to understand the very nature of the savage universe in which we exist and mankind’s attempts using mental tools of mathematics, science and philosophy to define and codify the cosmos.


    • Bryan David Griffith, Seamless

      Mixed media painting & wood | Flagstaff, AZ

      I believe innovation is more about ideas than hardware. I’ve tried to embody my vision in a timeless work of art: a work that is more about a way of seeing than about a particular technology of our time, which may seem futuristic today but will likely appear as a dated novelty to future generations. Each panel will appear black or white when viewed simultaneously with its neighbor. But when viewed individually over a period of minutes, colors will begin to emerge, and the viewer will see that the apparent black or white field is really much more complex, bringing a temporal dimension to the viewing experience.


    • Jennifer McCurdy, Arrow’s Philosopher’s Stone

      Porcelain sculpture | Vineyard Haven, MA

      Arrow’s Philosopher’s Stone represents a beacon for innovation. Encircling and nesting arrow forms cradle an egg, which is the philosopher’s stone of perpetual creation. As the form grows and opens, the new egg is revealed inside, in continuous progression. The beacon seems to pulse, as waves from the universe are transmitted and received. The arrows point out to all directions.


    • Steven Gutierrez, Aesthetica Sculptura

      Crowd sourced, 3D printed resin sculpture | Chardon, OH

      The sculpture uses the concept of “survival of the fittest” to morph into a sculpture that is more likely to succeed. A website was created to allow visitors to help define the physical parameters of this interactive sculpture. Unlike many crowd-sourced websites, this website is free to use and allows the user to modify some basic elements of the circular-like sculpture. As more users interacted with the website, the art became more sophisticated and “beautiful”. The final piece is displayed in the case shown. The process itself is part of the artwork, and the early iteration versions are also displayed.


    • Jen Lewin, Nova

      Electronic/sculpture | Boulder, CO

      Imagine a future where fluid transformation is prevalent. A future where boundaries between Art, material, function, and the human form stretch, blend, and take new shape. The butterfly is a classical reference to metamorphosis. By creating something that blends humanity and art, another transformation takes shape. Nova takes art off the walls and into the world. This wearable installation speaks to light, to community, to gathering, and has an open ethereal dream like quality that gracefully dances and glows. From person to butterfly, from individual to art, this convergence is a conversation already happening in worldwide culture.


  • The Art: 2015 Winner and Finalists

    2015 Winner

    Jennifer Ivanovic, Metamorphosis

    Arrow’s Five Years Out Challenge inspired Ivanovic to look at the Magic of Metamorphosis. These transformations symbolize what a business needs to thrive, inspire and reshape its products and thinking in a "Five Years Out" world.

    1. Ana Maria Botero
    2. Daryl Thetford
    3. Ed Kidera
    4. John Ames
    • Ana Maria Botero, Magical Collision

      Painting on Glass | Longmont, CO

      A star's life begins with the gravitational collapse of interstellar gas. The force of gravity compresses massive amounts of atoms until the fusion reaction begins and a new star is born.

      I wanted to create a piece that truly reflects Arrow’s values and ideas, its global impact and Arrow’s commitment to help us reach the unthinkable.


    • Daryl Thetford, r+Evolution ➔2020

      Digital Art | Chattanooga, TN

      In creating r+Evolution ➔2020, I placed a modern day Copernicus in the center of the image encircled by his own diagram of the cosmos. Orbiting around him are mathematical equations, a computer workstation, an Arrow Electronics oscilloscope, a globe from the Renaissance period, laptops, keyboards and tablets.

      Today’s technological advances are the result of the confluence of ancient and modern revolutionary thinkers. It is in merging the revolutionary with the evolutionary, and the theoretical with the practical, that they build the bridge between where we are and where we will be.


    • Ed Kidera, Into the Cloud

      Metalwork | Woodbine, MD

      "Into the Cloud" is a mobile platform that can be stationed anywhere she is needed to provide cell phone, Wi-Fi, television, and radio service along with cloud storage and internet server functions. Modern equipment can be so sterile in appearance, but "Into the Cloud" is designed with a Victorian flare and a touch of whimsy to bring comfort to those who see her.

      Powered and supported by clean hydrogen, built of super strong yet lightweight material, and adaptable to a wide range of missions, "Into the Cloud" may be Five Years Out, but she is on her way as she takes to the sky.


    • John Ames, Consciousness and Thermodynamics

      Digital Art | Chicago, IL

      The basic idea is that life and consciousness are the inevitable result of increasing entropy. Energy released from the creation of our local universe dissipates more efficiently as more and more seemingly ordered states of matter are created—including life and consciousness. Consciousness, self-awareness and intelligence strive to find meaning and purpose, and in this striving innovation is rewarded. Thus, innovation is self-sustaining as its effects change the environment. It reveals new challenges, which require further innovation; this is the broadest of all of the themes.


  • The Art: 2014 Winner and Finalists

    2014 Winner

    Betsy Youngquist, THero

    From a competitive, global application pool of artists, Betsy Youngquist was selected as the 2014 winner for her mixed media entry "Hero." Youngquist received $10,000 and a jury-exempt invitation to exhibit at the 2015 Cherry Creek Arts Festival.

    1. Tim Byrns
    2. Andre Woolery
    3. Sayaka Ganz
    4. Xinxin Zhi
    5. Randy Wilson
    6. Jared Anderson
    • Tim Byrns, Birth of Flight

      Sculpture | Duluth, MN

      Through this sculpture, I am conveying the source of human potential. The bright colors that surface through the seams imply infinite Technicolor possibilities that lie within. Constructed from one continuous piece of wood, I combine traditional materials and techniques with new technology and self-developed sculpting methods. Both the process and the form suggest that art needs to utilize both tradition and technology to be relevant and to evolve.


    • Andre Woolery, Invisible Hieroglyphics

      Digital Print | New York, NY

      Mobile devices have transformed the way we communicate and interact with each other dramatically. If you look at your devices’ screens, the fingerprints left behind illustrate how intimate we are becoming with the device itself. The artwork shows that our devices are simple canvases and what we do with them is the art society continues to create unknowingly. The message is invisible yet remains a hieroglyphic of the direction we are headed.


    • Sayaka Ganz, Untitled

      Sculpture | Fort Wayne, ID

      Japanese Shinto belief teaches us that all objects and organisms have spirits, and I was told in kindergarten that items discarded before their times weep at night inside the trash bin. Driven by combination of sympathy for inanimate objects and passion for fitting shapes together, I create forms that are alive and in motion. Building these sculptures helps me understand the situations that surround me. Even if there is conflict, there is a peaceful solution.


    • Xinxin Zhi, Love Letters

      Porcelain | Beijing, China

      We express our feelings through letters. This action expresses maybe just a mood of emotion, like love, care or hate. I choose to exhibit these discarded love letters in delicate ceramic forms. They look like pure paper, but cannot be easily unfolded. Secret feelings are hidden in these fragile ceramics. You can see a part of it but can’t unfold to reveal the rest; the content of these words is always fragmented.


    • Randy Wilson, Five Years Out

      Digital Art | Pacifica, CA

      For over 200 years, artists and musicians have dreamed of portraying music visually. Now, with the aid of fast computers I create images of music that are detailed, intuitively read, and capture the spirit of the music. A true intersection of visual art, music and technology. I invite you to explore these worlds of sound along with me. To literally see music in an entirely new way.


    • Jared Anderson and Eric Dallimore, C.H.O.N.

      Sculpture | Denver CO

      Whether you look five years out, or five thousand years out, you cannot build anything without Carbon, Hydrogen, Oxygen and Nitrogen. Our main material in the sculpture is marble, which was formed through immense pressure. After millions of years, this beautiful stone surfaced to create C.H.O.N. The scorched wood warns of possible disasters if we do not use innovation to create a sustainable future. Within the bronze layer, we present binary code as the fourth new language.


  • The Art: 2013 Winner and Finalists

    2013 Winner

    Stefan Begej, Innovation Engine

    From an application pool of over 120 artists and seven finalists, Stefan Begej was selected as the 2013 winner for his flash sculpture “Innovation Engine.” Begej received $10,000 and a jury-exempt invitation to exhibit at the 2014 Cherry Creek Arts Festival.

    1. Toby Fraley
    2. Karen Niemczyk
    3. Stephen Ausherman
    4. Donald Gialanella
    5. Merle Randolph
    6. Mark Winter
    • Toby Fraley, Lost Sound Search Engine

      Mixed Medium | Bridgeville, PA

      Five Years Out the world is introduced to the next big thing. Using proprietary algorithms and state-of-the-art technology, the "Lost Sound Search Engine" is born. Voices from the past, thought lost to the ages, can now be brought back and heard once again. The device almost acts like a time machine of sound. Using my own custom circuitry, I made this interactive piece appear to be a working unit.


    • Karen Niemczyk, Yes, I See

      Electronic Art | Greensboro, NC

      Through this brain-computer interface (BCI) controlled LED sculpture, I give viewers the chance to participate in the artwork itself and influence the light patterns with their individual 'brain scan.' Currently in their infancy, BCIs are expected to bloom in the next five years. With so much potential, questions are arising regarding malicious development and the misuse of information gained via BCIs.


    • Stephen Ausherman, "e-scape v"

      Digital Art | Albuquerque, NM

      "e-scape v" is a series of video loops featuring young and emerging writers and artists from the Denver area. The content reflects a local geographic identity, while the process is unrestricted by distance. In that sense, the project illustrates a balance in working both locally and globally at once. By the end of the process, we'll have five videos in the e-scape v series, each one looping independently at select CCAF venues.


    • Donald Gialanella, Motherboard Earth

      Sculpture | Topanga, CA

      "Five Years Out, the things we use today will seem primitive." To reflect this thought, I created Motherboard Earth, an orb from electronic devices, computers and consumer objects in common use today. The sculpture is a visual touchstone for how rapidly our world is changing. In 5 years, the artwork will contain what will be considered outmoded devices, thus becoming a time capsule of 2013 and an indicator of how fast technology is evolving.


    • Merle Randolph, Five Years Out

      Sculpture | Marion, OH

      This sculpture is made out of mirror polished Aluminum. The five columns signify Five Years Out. The various heights signify the added knowledge and change each year. The twists in the fifth column represents thinking outside of the box and that action must be taken to make new discoveries. The polished mirror finish reflects the other columns and you magically see an infinite number of twists or ideas.


    • Mark Winter, Visioneer

      Sculpture | Milwaukee

      Many elements vital to today’s day-to-day were innovations 5 years ago. Our lives are still made up of the tools we used 15 years back, and we are surrounded by components that shaped peoples’ lives 50 years ago. To imagine where we will be Five Years Out requires a “Visioneer.” This life-size figure navigates today's life and sees potential everywhere. Promise in every instrument he picks up, every person he engages with, and every action that he takes.


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