REED CITY — At a ceremony Wednesday, Reed City Middle School revealed its submission to ArtPrize this fall.
At the Reed City District Library, Reed City Middle School art teacher Vicky Kranz, world cultures teacher Sarah Morlock and their students revealed their submission to the Grand Rapids art competition: “Adventure Awaits” — a colorful stained-glass depiction of a bookshelf, complete with coyote bookends.
“We thought that was perfect because anybody who loves books kind of knows you open a book for adventure,” Morlock said.
According to information provided to ArtPrize for the submission, middle school students cut pieces of Plexiglas and glued them onto a framed structure in a “quilt-like” formation, which is backlit by a series of LED lights.
The piece was created by 30 to 40 Reed City Middle School students in Vicky Krantz’s advanced art class, Sarah Morlock’s world cultures class and Brian Koopman’s shop class for the Reed City Area District Library and funded by Edward Jones of Reed City.
This isn’t the school’s first submission. Last fall, Kranz and Morlock’s classes collaborated on an entry submitted to ArtPrize.
“That was successful and a lot of fun,” Morlock said.
Later in the year, the pair agreed to do it again.
“We had to work really hard,” Morlock said. “So, thinking about it a little more, why don’t we make this a spring project and the kids don’t have to be so rushed and we’ll submit it in the fall,” she said.
The teachers announced their intention to do so at a school board meeting, which was coincidentally being attended by Reed City Library Director Tom Burnosky, who expressed interest in hosting a piece at the library.
“We’d love to have more art in the library,” Burnosky said.
Kranz and Morlock accepted Burnosky’s offer and they started thinking about what they could do that would fit into the library.
“Something that would not only look good but would also speak to the love of books that people who come in here have,” Morlock said.
The teachers exchanged ideas until they came up with the concept of a stained glass shelf of books.
With the idea in hand, the teachers and their students could begin working on the project, but they ran into another obstacle.
The first piece cost a lot of money, the teachers said and they didn’t have enough to complete their new project.
Morlock said it was serendipity that David Langworthy, a financial advisor for Edward Jones had heard about their problem.
“I thought it was a neat thing the kids were doing and we wanted to help,” Langworthy said.
So Langworthy and his wife agreed to pay for the materials the students would need to create their submission.
“We said he’s like our angel,” Morlock said.
With everything they needed, the teachers and students started working on it and completed it after about two weeks.
Reed City Middle School will be competing against other schools in the Youth Collaboration Award, which is underwritten by Western Michigan University. In that competition, two submissions have the opportunity to win $2,500, which is determined by a public vote and expert jury.
Morlock said Grand Rapids schools have an advantage in the competition and requested that residents go and vote for the project this fall.
“Adventure Awaits” will be hosted at the Sundance Grille in downtown Grand Rapids from Sept. 19 through Oct. 1.
The teachers said the piece would return to the library after the competition.