I share with you here the current City As Muse statement of intent along with a short video teaser made for us our dear friend John Hanson.
“City as Muse” is the 2014 Artprize project, by Grand Rapid’s native and artist Rick Beerhorst, that looks into the idea of the transforming power of positive change released when an artist fixes his gaze on his city. It also is a project that seeks new ways local artists and community and business leaders, can partner in creating habitat for arts and culture. Rick says, “I have been painting and drawing our city for the past twenty five years. I have watched first-hand as the city rediscovered it's inner core. With paintbrush in hand, I witnessed restoration of historic buildings as well as the addition of new glass and steel structures. It is on this foundation that I am dedicating 2014, to creating a large scale painting that will be the culmination of what has been building up over these past 25 years of painting and drawing my hometown. As I meditate on my relationship with the city of Grand Rapids, I realize that this city has become my Muse, she both inspires creativity and creates a culture and place for me to create.”
Beerhorst has identified Grand Rapids as the city in which he creates - the city he participates in creating - also, in a sense, a place creating him - and who he is. In companion to the piece itself, we’ll give a look into how the painting came to be. A short film is being shot, that tells the story of how much work, mixed with trial and error, lies at the foundation of a piece that is intentionally so big it needs a community to create it. Over the course of 2014, sponsors and supporters will join the project - as collaborators and contributors, showing the context and community in which the city of Grand Rapids builds support and habitat for the arts and artists. AMDG Architecture has come forward as our first corporate sponsor. If you are associated with a company that would like to come alongside of us for this adventure please contact our director of friends Pam Vitaz.
The resulting large oil painting depicts a new form of seeing the city. We see the personification of the muse in both the Grand Rapids skyline and the literal description of muse as (in Greek and Roman mythology) — a woman, or a force personified as a woman, who is the source of inspiration for a creative artist. In Rick’s work, there are two women, symbolizing, perhaps, collaboration…The beauty of “City as Muse” lies not only in seeing the city of Grand Rapids as a place and habitat for artists, but in the project’s potential to raise awareness and change our relationship to community building - the collaboration of businesses and artists, making partnerships in creating culture.