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Monroe Community Church: Creative, cozy, crowded

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Curatorial issues aside, the venue at Monroe Community Church is a successful example of what is arguably the most relevant aspect of Artprize: the bringing together of community and art.

/Emily Rediger

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A fine if overabundant collection of varied works in a family-friendly setting

Monroe Community Church 

Robin Protz 

By Emily Rediger, Hope College student


Artprize offers the unique opportunity experience the communion of city and art. Being a first time attendant of Artprize, I had no set expectations. I was surprised at the number of venues and spectators. The Monroe Community Church featured a plethora of artwork in different styles, techniques, and media.

Featuring high ceilings, plain walls and open space, the venue inside looked like a conventional art gallery, but the venue encouraged people to stay by offering snacks, tables, and seating, including a couch. A testimony to the welcoming nature of the environment was the number of children running around and the constant stream of people going in and out.  

Birth of a Dream by Robin Protz was undoubtably the highlight of venue. It is an astonishing sculptural project made up thousands of pieces of lightweight silver metal suspended on thousands of lines creating the shimmering form of a winged mother horse and foal. I had the opportunity to speak the Protz who indicated that Birth of a Dream was designed to be displayed in a church venue.

While there was a great number and variety of works, some would have benefitted by being included in a more sparely curated exhibition, or one that would have had a more readily apparent theme or tone. For the viewer who prefers to encounter each work on its own terms, less complicated by the compact arrangement, the experience may be frustrating. For example, the piece by Protz, clearly a favorite of the viewers, was located in the corner of the room and would have benefitted from a central placement, even at the expense of including fewer works.

Curatorial issues aside, the venue at Monroe Community Church is a successful example of what I perceive to be the most relevant aspect of Artprize: bringing together community and art.  


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