By Tessa Osborne
ArtPrize is a great event for the community, but with anything, there will always be complications. In the case of Michelle Urbane and Daryl Bruischat, those might include shattered artwork and some other surprises.
Grand Rapids Community College has two venues this year, one on the fourth floor of the Main Building in the Collins Art Gallery and the second at Spectrum Theater.
Spectrum Theater has been an ArtPrize venue since its second year. This venue, curated by Theater Manager Michelle Urbane, features 13 pieces this year, which vary between 3D works and 2D pieces. In an interview with The Collegiate, Urbane explained how she selected art for the venue.
“First and foremost, we reach out through the art department to see if there are any students who are involved in ArtPrize who would like a venue,” Urbane said. “I always make space for our students first.”
If there are no students interested in the venue, Urbane continues to “…ask people who are associated with the college.” This year, the theater is hosting one GRCC graduate and another artist associated with the college.
One of the artists showing at Spectrum Theater is Daryl Bruischat, a GRCC graduate who is one of the two artists who are affiliated with the college. Bruischat went to GRCC from 1969 to 1970 and studied to be an engineer. He later went to Grand Valley State University to get his bachelor’s degree. While attending GVSU, Bruischat took an art class, where he found his passion and went on to win the Most Promising Art Student award.
Bruischat’s piece, titled “Take Cover,” represents a storm approaching a city. The small pieces of copper in front of the piece represent the city, while the copper slate behind the copper pieces represents the storm that is approaching. The front of the canvas shows the inside of the storm and the back of the canvas is the glass window of the church after the storm.
Bruischat, while setting up his piece at Spectrum Theater, noticed that three dowels that were meant to hold the plate did not align. He said, “With all the weight on the top plate, the dowel sprung up and launched the slate out of its cradle and onto the floor.” The only piece that survived is the piece that is currently at the venue.
“It was a traumatic event,” Bruischat said, adding that he had “been living that piece for six months.”
He then had to redo the big copper piece that represents the storm. Despite the incident, Bruischat remained positive about the situation.
“It’s just a sequence of events that you couldn’t make up,” he said. “You take the challenge and you move forward from it.”
Choosing students and those affiliated with the college are Urbane’s top two priorities in selecting the art for her venue. But after those two have been filled, she continues to select art based on what is happening in the theater during this time.
“I try to link them with the show that is being produced,” Urbane said. “So we have Actors’ Theatre doing the show ‘The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time,’ which centers around a young person who is dealing – he’s living with what the audience perceives as a form of autism.”
There are two pieces that Urbane emphasized their connection with the play, one being the acrylic painting by Miles Scharfenberg called ‘e-MOTION 2 and the other piece by Arbor Circle called ‘What Are You Masking?’. Both pieces are related to people who have disabilities. Arbor Circle has a lot of students who are living with autism and Scharfenberg is developmentally disabled and has been multi-handicapped since infancy.
When asked if she has a favorite piece, Urbane said she was unable to name a particular favorite, but mentioned her dislikes.
“In the past, I have had my least favorites that when they come in I go ‘that looks a lot different, in person than it did on the image that was put on (the) ArtPrize (website),’” Urbane said. “I had one several years ago come in that was totally different than what (the artist) put online, and so different that he did say to me, ‘if this is too much I can take it down’ and I said, ‘no, it’s art, and art is in the eye of the beholder. People will like it or not. They’ll read the statement.’”
ArtPrize started Sept. 19 and runs to Oct. 7. To check out the art at Spectrum Theater and the Collins Art Gallery on campus the venues will be open from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday, noon to 8 p.m. Saturday and noon to 6 p.m. on Sunday.