Grand Rapids Church Joins In On “Art Prize”

Written by Terry DeBoer on . Posted in Local

Joel Schoon-Tanis LifeOne of three panels of Joel Schoon-Tanis work “Life: New Life: Full Life”Andrew Norden is in on the ground floor of his church’s first foray into the world of Art Prize. Crossroads Bible Church, 800 Scribner Ave NW just north of downtown Grand Rapids, is an official venue for the seventh annual community art competition which awards hundreds of thousands of dollars to winning artists.

“It’s a lot of work – we anticipated that,” said Norden, who is part of a church team led by community life pastor Brad Klaver. “Being our first time (as part of Art Prize) new things have popped up but we’re finding our way through it quite well, I think,” he added. Art Prize officially opens Wed. Sept. 23 and runs through Oct. 11.

Crossroads Bible (its building is tucked between Front and Scribner Aves. just west of the river) has 21 artworks on display in its spacious facility which was converted from an old plumbing warehouse.

“Our church just moved here a year and a half ago, so really this is the first time it was feasible for us to do this,” Norden said.

                                      LAYING THE GROUNDWORK

The church art team includes members of the local arts community. Very early in the process, the team began looking at artists’ submissions and going through the matching process which led to their final list. Crossroads is just one of more than 160 venues which have Art Prize exhibits.

“It’s the first time most of these artists have been in our physical space,” noted Norden. “And they have liked our amount of wall space, lighting, and a real modern gallery feel.”

Not all of the art at Crossroads has religious themes. “We didn’t limit the scope in those terms; that was never really an aim of ours,” said Norden. “But we do have one featured artist that I think people will be excited about.”

That would be Joel Schoon-Tanis, a Holland artist who has done a variety of art for all ages.
His large scale work is titled “Life: New Life: Full Life,” and includes three panels (covering 48 square feet) offering a “painterly exploration of the trinity.”

The three panels depict aspects of creation, redemption and new life in the spirit.
“I was going to take a breather from Art Prize this year,” said the artist. “But after talking to Crossroads I saw an opportunity to stretch myself past my usual whimsical style and see if I could create something that belongs in a main space of a church.”                  

                     MORE ART, MORE THEMES

Artist Saralee Howard (also a hospice chaplain) has an ink and acrylic piece called “Just A Drop,” incorporating a quote from Mother Teresa right into the canvas.

Howard Saralee Just a Drop 2015|”Just A Drop” by Saralee Howard“We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean,” begins the quote. “But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop.”

Another interesting series of work is titled “Lent,” and has a fascinating story of development.
It’s a series of seven charcoal on color paper pieces by Holland artist Nancy Laning. The first six are rather dark in nature and were painted during the six Sundays of Lent during her church’s worship service.

“The last of the seven was painted on Easter Sunday, and is brighter with a completely different tone,” Norden said.

Norden is also impressed with a painting by Rich Francisco “I Came To Believe,” which portrays his struggle with addiction to a life of new-found faith.

                                               A GROUP EFFORT

It’s a large responsibility for a church to be an Art Prize venue. It requires the facility to be open seven days a week: every weeknight and extra hours on weekends. Norden said the church has enough volunteers from its 1,500 or so worshipers to fill that need.

I Came To Believe“I Came to Believe” by Rich Francisco“This being our first year, we’ve taken a minimalist approach and are sticking fairly close to the minimum hours Art Prize requires,” Norden said. “But we have enough church events going on throughout the week that there are security and building personnel here anyway.”

Crossroads Bible Church is holding a “Meet & Greet” open house for artists and community from 4 to 8 p.m. Sat. Sept. 26 with light refreshments and live music. All 21 artists have been invited.

“We want to encourage interaction between the artists themselves and the artists and the community,” Norden said.

For more information check the church’s web site

(Other churches who have displays for Art Prize are Central Reformed, Monroe Community, First Park Congregational, and Fountain Street. Other Christian ministries which are also hosting exhibits are Cathedral Square, Heartside Ministries and Degage Ministries, all on S. Division Ave).

Author Information
Terry DeBoer
Terry is journalist who writes for newspapers, magazines, newsletters and websites. His most frequented “beat” is arts and entertainment. He is married with two children and lives in Grand Rapids.

Related Articles

No Related Articles Found

home app07 envelope
Submit News
RSS Feed
home app09 playVideos
faith-buttonPlease consider helping us by contributing to our publication. 

Donate directly or advertize your business on this site or in our newsletter.  It reaches thousands across West Michigan.