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GRPS and ArtPrize: A collaboration not to be missed

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Artprize 2011 kicks off Wednesday, September 21st. GRPS's involvement has produced many unforgettable works of art.
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To find more information and to view other entries in ArtPrize 2011 visit

"Young Oak Reaching", painting by Tony Hendrick, featured at Coit Creative Arts Academy

"Young Oak Reaching", painting by Tony Hendrick, featured at Coit Creative Arts Academy

Rich VanderVeen with his piece Win, Win, Wind. The structure is over 30 feet tall and can be found at GVSU's downtown campus.

Rich VanderVeen with his piece Win, Win, Wind. The structure is over 30 feet tall and can be found at GVSU's downtown campus. /Win, Win, Wind


As ArtPrize 2011 kicks off Wednesday, September 21, GRPS’s involvement in this year’s event has certainly produced some unforgettable pieces. Not only is GRPS providing venues for the event, many GRPS students have partnered with local businesses and artists, to dedicate their time and efforts to create meaningful artwork.


Young Oak Reaching

Coit Creative Arts Academy is an ArtPrize venue containing nine different entries. The large and stunning piece “Young Oak Reaching” is hanging on the south wall of the school. Painted by artist Tony Hendrick, “Young Oak Reaching” is a 40-foot by 28-foot acrylic painting that covers nearly the entire wall.

Other pieces displayed at Coit include Michael Heimburger’s “Dimensionalities,” a scenic painting of a Grand Rapids landscape, created across different dimensions of reclaimed doors; and also Kimberly Tjapkes’s “Beneath the Surface,” a steel and copper sculpture of aquatic life.


I Believe I Become

As part of the Believe 2 Become movement, GRPS students and two local artists have created a massive mural to reflect what I Believe I Become truly means to the students. The mural will be displayed at the DeVos Place during ArtPrize. Artists Georgia Taylor and Marco Riolo are working with the GRPS students, the creative team, Sophia Rodriguez, junior at Creston High School, and Maurica Stewart, 2011 Ottawa Hills graduate. Students on the production team are Robert Daylie, Zaylie Bebee, and Luiz Farfen.

“We asked the students what I Believe I Become means to them,” said Georgia Taylor. “I think their artistic expression of this concept is going to take your breath away. It’s about the power of hope and potential and youth and the human spirit.”

Several local businesses are supporting the project. Buist Electric gave a generous cash donation, Rockford Construction is providing studio space, Standard Lumber and Modern Hardware are donating materials, and DeVos Place is sponsoring a reception featuring the mural on October 1.

In an effort to further express the rally cry of I Believe I Become, this mural will be a reflection of the 15,000 children served by the program. (


The Campau Preschool Alphabet

 Matthew Beresford, a preschool teacher at Campau Park Elementary, teaches 16 at-risk preschoolers, enriching them with an environment filled with literacy and ambition. In order to utilize this strategy, Beresford has opened the students’ artistic talents by encouraging them to create an alphabet. He located the materials they wanted to create each letter, and supported them in connecting with the specific medium they have chosen to relate to each letter.  The students completed the work, and, along with the continuing support of Beresford, submitted it into ArtPrize. By building one letter a week, the students completed the 25-foot alphabet which will be featured in GRCC’s Spectrum Theatre.


Win, Win, Wind!

Richard Vander Veen, President of Mackinaw Power, LLC, has collaborated with City High Middle School students to create a 36-foot kinetic sculpture using a state-of-the-art wind turbine blade. As the leader of the Mackinaw City Wind Project and founder of the Gratiot Wind Project, Vander Veen seeks to educate young people about the protection of our Great Lakes, now and for future generations. This piece demonstrates why zero-emission wind power can solve current energy problems, and also generate opportunities for artistic creativity.


Above the Influence

Kent County Prevention Coalition, in partnership with Network 180 and artist Michele Stitt, have created an ArtPrize entry video titled Above the Influence-Kent County: Telling the Stories of Community Youth. As nearly 80 percent of the students reached by the KCPC are GRPS students, this video connects with students on the pressures of being a teenager. It represents an alliance of Kent County teen voices across geographic, ethnic, racial, cultural lines and experiences. What these teens share is a common goal – to live above negative influences and to inspire change that impacts the environments in which they learn, work, and live.




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