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ArtPrize; The Story of Rain, chapter 9

ArtPrize Sculpture Dedicated at Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital

By Rachael Recker | The Grand Rapids Press
 Rick DeVos, founder of ArtPrize, and Anna Donahue wait to speak at the dedication ceremony.
Anna Donahue, far left, talks about her sculpture, Rain, at Mary Free Bed.

GRAND RAPIDS -- A CAT scan at age 1 revealed that now-28-year-old Emily Donahue suffered a stroke at about 2 months old. A bronzed ArtPrize sculpture depicting Donahue, dedicated Monday morning to Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital, reveals a sense of hope and inspiration to future patients.

"I felt that any patient to be wheeled into this area ... they would think, 'If she can do it, I can do it," said Betsy Mathiesen, a Mary Free Bed Guild member who headed the fundraising campaign on behalf of the guild to purchase the $18,000 ArtPrize '09 sculpture with private donations.

"Rain," created by Emily's aunt -- Grand Rapids artist Anna Donahue -- was bronzed and re-positioned in the same location in which it was displayed during the inaugural art competition. Mary Free Bed will be an ArtPrize venue again this year.

The outdoor sculpture of a young female holding a leaf in her bent right arm -- Emily's paralyzed arm -- can been seen on the lawn off the hospital's main entrance off Wealthy Street.  Emily, of Comstock Park, received physical therapy treatments at Mary Free Bed at age 3, 8 and 16.

"I think it's more beautiful," Anna Donahue said about the sculpture being bronzed -- a $10,000 endeavor -- for its permanent home at the hospital. "The coloring is more natural."
ArtPrize founder Rick DeVos spoke at the dedication, expressing surprise at the stories that continue to emerge from the not-yet-year-old art competition.

"It's amazing to see everything that has come out of it," DeVos said. "I'm just happy that we could be a catalyst for this."

 For more information, visitartprize.org or The Press' ArtPrize site.

ArtPrize 2011; My Venue

My kinetic sculpture for ArtPrize 2011 will be exhibited at The Calder Plaza Building on Monroe Avenue. The venue is using the wide sidewalk space in front of the building for three different artist's sculptures. This sounds like a great location because it is right across the street from DeVos Hall which will be a busy venue for ArtPrize.

The concept for this kinetic sculpture is about spending face time with one another. We are losing touch physically because of modern technology and the ease of communicating. My design will include the use of kinetics for movement in the hands and face of this life size sculpture of a person. The body will be industrial and the hands and face will be casts from a live model.

Artists are now matching up with venues and by the end of June there should be at least 2,000 artists placed. Then we have a couple of months to do the final work on our art pieces for display in September.

Madame Gamborota's Art Critique

The town of Assisi, where everything is covered in stone and marble. My first impression was, "What a dreary looking town. There's not much green here and it looks like everything's covered in cement." It wasn't tourist season either so there were very few people around.

 I remember one old staircase we climbed that was worn with a deep curve on every step. It was solid marble and 1,000 years old. How many feet had climbed up and down those worn treads?

The steps led to the apartment of an American lady who had lived in Assisi since World War II. She was someone who had a deep appreciation for the art all around her. The apartment had a single window up high on a wall in the kitchen with a view of a stone wall. The rooms were spacious and we all sat down on the furniture and the floor as Madame Gamborota poured us each a small shot glass of Gamborota.

She told the story of what that name means. She had a limp and complained of rheumatism so she went down to the local storekeeper to ask for a remedy. The shopkeeper said, " Oh Senora Gamborota, you have Gamborota in your leg and you need to drink a little Gamborota to ease the pain." It's all Italian, of course, so I still don't know the exact translation of what that means. The important thing was that she was in the right place. Her name meant something there, her malady had the same name and there surprisingly was a remedy, with the same name. She always kept a bottle of the liqueur handy.

Then Madame Gamborota talked about the color of several stones and a small marble sculpture that sat in the center of the room. For some reason everyone looked at me when the questions began. I was not sure how to respond but did my best to answer her color quiz. She very politely explained how I was all wrong and challenged us to see color everywhere and in everything. Gray and brown have underlying hues that the average person doesn't really notice but it was important for the artist to see color.

Later as we were walking back to the bus I thought about what colors I could see in the gray stone that covered absolutely everything. The sun was setting and now the missing hues showed up.

It's easy to see the small town of Assisi in one day and you can enjoy walking it's marble covered streets and staircases.  Assisi info for the traveler tells you all about what to expect.

ArtPrize #3 Kinetic Sculpture

This year I debated about entering ArtPrize but gave in to the creative urge to do whatever I want. Usually I am designing and creating on commission so I don't always get to do everything exactly the way I would like. ArtPrize gives me the opportunity to really express myself and have fun with the creative process.

Here are some sketches I came up with to illustrate my concept. I am using my past ArtPrize sculptures as a springboard for this new project.

The hands and face will be made of ceramic or plastics but ideally I would like to use bronze. 

The kinetic sculpture, Face Me, stands about 6
feet high and the structure or body is made of steel. There are rotating joints that connect the
moving parts to the steel. The hands and face are designed to resemble reality and have the same anatomical movement of a live person. The hands and face rotate 180 degrees on an axis and the steel arms are also jointed at the elbow to add more movement. The only restriction will be at the elbows to prevent the hands and face from touching one another. This restriction is part of the message of the piece; the face being separated from physical touch and the hands also being “tied.” The original design calls for ceramic hands and face but I will adjust that to urathane plastic or bronze if the sculpture is exhibited outdoors.

The viewers on the right are about the same height as the sculpture on 
the left that I have named "Face Me."