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This pencil drawing, titled Cavalry, American Officers, 1921 won Michigan artist Chris LaPorte the grand prize at the 2010 ArtPrize competition. ((Brian Kelly/Associated Press/ArtPrize))

Michigan-based artist Chris LaPorte has been awarded $250,000 for winning the ArtPrize competition.

LaPorte received the award for his pencil drawing, Cavalry, American Officers, 1921, at an ArtPrize ceremony in Grand Rapids, Mich., Thursday Night. 

According to LaPorte, his piece, which is a meticulous hand drawn reproduction of a portrait, is about "the process of drawing" and cavalry workers, who he says, "must have survived horrific events to preserve what we experience today."

The ArtPrize, which was founded last year, is the world's largest art prize, both in terms of monetary awards and eligibility range of participants. The competition was launched in 2009 by Rick DeVos, a 28-year-old Grand Rapids entrepreneur, who wanted to stage an event that would shine a spotlight on western Michigan’s biggest city.

The competition gave away $449,000 in total with $100,000 going to the second prize winner, $50,000 to the third and $7,000 to each of the remaining seven finalists.

The award is open to artists around the world and is judged solely by the public. Art fans voted for their favourite pieces in person at the 19-day ArtPrize event, which presented work at various venues in Grand Rapids.

The competition drew 1,713 artists from 44 states and 21 countries.

The second place award went to Santa Ana, Calif., artist Mia Tavonatti who created a stained glass mosaic titled Svelata.

 Beili Liu of Austin, Texas, won third place title for her thread-based installation Lure/Wave, Grand Rapids.

With files from The Associated Press