Many hours were spent in the car, and hundreds of miles were logged as we made our way to Grand Rapids, Michigan for this year’s ArtPrize. Driving from New Hampshire, we took the trip in two days. Noah proved to be a great traveling baby! I was so proud of him! He mostly slept both days of travel and had very short periods of crying near the end of each day. It was to be expected, we was only three and a half months old, but he was such a trooper. Our first day of travel, we stopped in Buffalo for the night with my in-laws. It was so nice to spend the night with them and for them to see Noah for a while. In the morning, we had a nice breakfast together and then hit the road for Grand Rapids. It was a really nice drive. I learned that Ohio is pretty flat. When we arrived in Michigan, we were greeted by my family (who came to help me set up and see ArtPrize for themselves). Noah got lots of squeezes and we headed out for dinner at a local pizza parlor. Back at the house that evening, Andrew and I were working pretty late on my Jeremiah Tree with all the finishing touches so it would be ready for installation the next day.
We arrived at the Monroe Community Church, were my piece was being showed, and found out that we would be hanging my tree on a concrete wall, not drywall. I was so glad to have my dad there with me! He is an expert carpenter and furniture craftsman/designer, so he knew how to work with the concrete wall. The van was unloaded and for a little while we just looked at all the pieces of my tree that needed to go up on the wall. It was a bit overwhelming to figure out where to start and just how we were going to do it. It made the most sense to start by hanging the trunk and roots of the tree and continue from there.
The Monroe Community Church was a really neat venue to be a part of. It used to be a “precious moments” factory, but now is a church. They had a great space to host multiple artists. We were all in there installing together, which was a lot of fun. It took quite a bit of time to install. My mom and brother, Ian, took care of Noah while my dad, husband and I worked on the tree. It was a huge help! Once the trunk was in place we then moved onto the leaf portion of the tree with the help of Michael. Thank you!
To hang the tree, my dad screwed a 1″x4″ board into the concrete wall. Then we secured little hook hangers for each of the trunk and root pieces to hang from. We worked on this from the bottom to the top. After the trunk was in place, it was time to hang the leaf portion. Since there were about 400 leaves on the frame, it was pretty heavy. Andrew and Michael had to hold this piece of the tree above their heads while my dad worked quickly on the ladder to drill in the screws and wire. We all let out a big sigh when the men let go of the leaves and just let it hold by the wires. They did a great job with it! The last part was installing the river plates. Those were hung from plate hangers. I marked where they should all go and my dad drilled all the screws into place while I followed behind hanging the plates. It felt so good to have this done and finally up on the wall!
After a long day of installation, we drove out to Lansing to have dinner with my Uncle, Aunt, cousin and her family. It was a great time to catch up and share a great meal. Noah got to meet his second cousins, Andrew and Chase, for the first time.
Sunday night I went to an artist party to receive my artist tag and register. I got to meet some of the other artists there and pick up some other neat things. It was held on the top floor of this building called the B.O.B in Grand Rapids. It was a pretty swanky club. My husband and brother came along with me. Afterwards we headed out to a pub for a late dinner. It was a really fun night. My parents happily stayed at the house with Noah and put him down for the night. I missed him, but it was fun to have a little break and enjoy time with my brother.
The Sunday before ArtPrize began, my Jeremiah Tree was the showcase piece for their sermon series. During ArtPrize, the Monroe Community Church does and ArtPrize sermon series based different artists’ work in their venue. My piece was the first one of the series. I was called up front for an interview and got to share about the process of my piece and the meaning behind it. It was a really neat way to share my faith with the Church and other artists there. The pastor then used my piece as a visual for his sermon from the Jeremiah 17 passage. It was an honor to be apart of the service.