RCMS students’ ArtPrize 10 entry unveiled

REED CITY — After weeks of cutting, gluing and carefully placing each piece, Reed City Middle School seventh- and eighth-graders watched as their finished project was unveiled Wednesday, June 6, at the Reed City Area District Library, where the piece will hang until it is sent to Grand Rapids in the fall for ArtPrize 10.

ArtPrize is an annual international art competition, during which hundreds of thousands of people descend on Grand Rapids from mid-September to early October. Artists’ works are displayed throughout town in a variety of venues and can be voted on for different prizes.

The piece, displaying many stained glass books, mascot coyotes and a clock on a framed bookshelf and backlit with LED lights, was put together through a collaboration of RCMS teachers and their students. Sarah Morlock’s world cultures students and students taught by Vicky Krantz, with help from high-schoolers in Brian Koopman’s shop class, constructed the piece, which was funded by donations from Edward Jones of Reed City and David Langworthy.

After hearing the teachers discussing a few of the obstacles in tackling this project, one being the funding for materials, Langworthy offered a donation to get the artistic piece off the ground. Another challenge in the project was finding an idea that would work in the library, Morlock said.

As the project, entitled “Adventure Awaits,” was unveiled, students eagerly pointed out their contributions.

“This was really fun,” student Faith Basalone said about the project. “This one was easier than last year’s.”

Previously, students worked to build mandalas out of stained glass pieces, which were then placed in a quilt-like pattern and entitled “Cultural Diffusion” for ArtPrize 9. Cultural Diffusion was displayed at the West Grand Neighborhood Organization, just a few blocks and across the Grand River from where Adventure Awaits will hang at Sundance Grill and Bar, 151 Ottawa Ave. NW, Grand Rapids.

“I think I learned (during this project) that if you try, you can accomplish it,” said student Christina Malackanich. “I think the younger kids will learn from this that when they get in middle school, they can do things like this.”

Adventure Awaits will leave its new home at the library for a temporary stay at Sundance Grill and Bar from Sept. 19 to Oct. 7, before returning to Reed City.

“We are just the hosts of this great piece,” said Tom Burnosky, library director. “I think this is a great collaboration. We are happy to show it off.”

The students’ work can be voted on for the Youth Collaboration Award, which will be part of ArtPrize for the second year and allows pupils under the age of 18 to participate. Up for grabs are two $2,500 prizes, one awarded by public vote and the other awarded by a jury.

“This looked a lot harder than I thought it would be,” said student Candice Holmes, noting how excited she is to have a second piece in ArtPrize.