By Christopher Schasser
Grand Rapids Community College is host to many ArtPrize artists this year, among those artists is Christy Lee Rogers.
Rogers, 45, of Kailua, Hawaii, entered her piece titled “Muses,” located on the fourth floor of the Main Building in the Collins Art Gallery. As many art pieces often have, Rogers had an inspiration for her work.
“The artwork was inspired by and is dedicated to three women who lost their lives before their time, the Kearns women, two sisters and a mother that I grew up with in Hawaii,” Rogers stated in an email to The Collegiate.
Those close friends of Rogers passed to breast cancer, leukemia and a stroke.
“I wanted to celebrate their lives with you all here,” Rogers stated. “The muses collection was something that I needed to say, some hope and freedom I needed to explore, but it’s so locked away inside of me that it almost hurt me physically to express it.”
In the email Rogers stated that to her art meant “freedom, hope and love and a way to express that and share it.”
Like many other artists, Rodgers encountered challenges in completing her entry.
“Before every shoot I am a nervous wreck inside and that can be my biggest challenge,” she stated. “It feels like it will be the last images I ever take. I’m trying to bring the viewer to a place that’s not here, and there’s something that I’m pushing through to get there. Something that I have to feel and not overthink.”
ArtPrize carries a hefty reward for the winner and Rogers already has a plan if she were to win the competition.
“First thing is 20 percent would go to charities to help others that were suffering from cancer and heart conditions,” Rogers stated.
She said that she would use the rest to set up a foundation called “WaterAmore.” In the email, Rogers made it clear that she had a specific purpose for her foundation.
“(It would be) dedicated to the love of water on our planet, its preservation and research into purifying all polluted water sources in the world.”