Marking Memorial Day

The Grand Rapids Veterans Home Cemetery was dedicated by the Grand Rapids Post of the Grand Army of the Republic on Memorial Day 1886.  Currently, 5,042 veterans and their families are interred there.  It is one of four veterans cemeteries in the State of Michigan.

Black and white

Google recently decided not to charge for its Nik suite of photo editing software. I have taken advantage of that and am learning how to convert color photographs to black and white using Silver Effects Pro 2. (Click image for a larger view.)

Touring the Meyer May House in Grand Rapids, Michigan

The Meyer May House was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright for a clothing retailer in Grand Rapids, Michigan.  The house, which was completed in 1910, is located at 450 Madison S.E., in the Heritage Hill Historic District.  Information about the house can be found on Wikepedia and on the website maintained by Steelcase Inc., which has meticulously restored the house.


LaughFest 2011

I attended the announcement this morning for LaughFest, a major event benefiting Gilda’s Club Grand Rapids.  LaughFest is a 10-day festival of laughter that will run from March 10 to March 20, 2011.   It will feature national talent (including, Bill Cosby, Betty White, Mike Birbiglia, and Kathleen Madigan), film, musicians (Dan Zane and friends), improv, laughter yoga, guest authors, and community events.  Like ArtPrize, there will be a number of venues where events will occur.  So far the first 20 venues have been secured, and they are looking for many more.  


Gilda’s Club Grand Rapids is the largest and busiest Gilda’s Club affiliate in North America.

ArtPrize 2010 Winner: “Cavalry, American Officers, 1921”

On Thursday, October 7, ArtPrize announced the winner of the popular vote in the 2010 competition. The $250,000 first prize went to Grand Rapids artist Chris LaPorte. LaPorte teaches art at Aquinas College. The winning work, “Cavalry, American Officers, 1921” is a photorealistic pencil drawing of a gathering of World War I officers.  It took LaPorte over 800 hours to complete the work, which measures 29 feet by 8 feet.

Here are my photos of the winning work.


Here is a 90-second interview of Chris LaPorte.

ArtPrize 2010: The Neighborhoods and the Venues

Like last year, ArtPrize has divided the central core of the city into 5 neighborhoods: Westside, City Center, Monroe North, Heartside and Hillside. ArtPrize will hold “Neighborhood Days” and “Neighborhood Parties,” to encourage people to view each of the neighborhoods.  This is a great idea. Last year, many people failed to get out of downtown to see some of the great art that was on display. For information on the neighborhoods, visit the ArtPrize site by clicking here. Here is a map showing the boundaries of the neighborhoods in the city’s core:


In addition, this year, ArtPrize has established the Fredrik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park as a venue and an Exhibition Center. Each Exhibition Center will exhibit over 25 artists selected by a curator from a regional cultural institution. There are 7 Exhibition Centers, including:

ArtPrize 2010: “Play Me I’m Yours” by Luke Jerram

One of the ArtPrize 2010 entries that I am eagerly anticipating is Luke Jerram’s “Play Me I’m Yours.”  I have blogged about this exhibit before (click here).  Jerram places pianos around a city. Each piano is labeled, “Play Me I’m Yours.”  He has done this in London, Sidney, Sao Paulo, New York City, among others and now he’s bringing his pianos to Grand Rapids 

The results elsewhere have been fantastic fun!  Here’s just one example.

The ArtPrize organization says Art = Community.”  “Art is the focus of the competition, but the main event is community.” Well, “Play Me I’m Yours” will give the community a chance to engage art and each other.  I can’t wait.


Carrying on the Calder Style

Ever since 1975, when I first saw Alexander Calder’s mobile commissioned for the new wing of the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., I have loved his work.  Little did I know then that I would end up living in a city whose commitment to public art would be symbolized by a Calder stabile.

Recently, I was contacted by Rick Bissell, an artist from Chardon, Ohio.  Rick works in the Calder style and creates beautiful mobiles and stabiles.  Rick found my photos of Calder’s work in Grand Rapids on my Flickr page and sent me an email  He was kind enough to post one of my photos that I call “Calder Reflections” to his blog. (Here’s the photo)

Let me return the favor by encouraging you to visit Rick’s blog,, and his business page, Rick’s work will filled with the mirth of the Calder style.

Here are some examples of Rick’s work from his site on Flickr: