Past Exhibits

Past Exhibits

Elsie Vredenburg Quilt Exhibit

van quilt 150wTustin quilter Elsie Vredenburg exhibits 25 years of Hoffman Challenge Quilts in the Artworks Gallery from June 6 to July 25, 2014. The exhibit illustrates Vredenburg’s interpretations of fabrics selected by the Hoffman Fabric Company for its annual competition. The challenge is to include a recognizable amount of the year’s fabric in the body of the quilt that must have a perimeter between 72 and 160 inches. Judging is based on originality, creativity, and workmanship.

Vredenburg is known for her quilts that depict lighthouses. The artist said that lighthouses appeal to her graphically “because they stand tall in contrast to the horizontal lines of land and water. Symbolically, because they represent safety for those on the seas, and because they point upwards toward God.” Several of her lighthouse quilts will also be on display.

Smithsonian Exhibit – The Way We Worked

postal workersTuesday, Oct. 7 — Saturday, Nov. 29, 2014.

Opening Reception: 5:00-8:00pm, Friday, Oct. 10.

Between the mid-1800s, when 60 percent of Americans made their living as farmers, and the late 1900s, work and the workplace experienced a transformation. The Way We Worked explores the social changes that have affected the workforce and work environments over the past 150 years. The exhibit features photographs that show how immigration, gender, ethnicity, class, and technology affected workplaces and the workforce.

The exhibition will open Tuesday, October 7, 2014 at Artworks, 106 North Michigan Avenue, in Big Rapids. The exhibit and reception are open to the public with free admission.

The exhibition is divided into five sections:

  • “WHERE We Worked” explores the places Americans worked, from farms to factories, mines to restaurants, as well as how race and gender often determined roles and status.
  • “HOW We Worked” examines the effects of technology and automation on the workplace with images of people on assembly lines or using their tools of trade.
  • “What We WORE to Work” looks at the way uniforms serve as badges of authority and status, and help make occupations immediately identifiable.
  • “CONFLICT at Work” looks back at not just the inevitable clashes between workers and managers over working conditions, wages and hours, but also how social conflicts, such as segregation, have influenced the workplace.
  • “DANGEROUS or UNHEALTHY Work” features many of the photographs taken by social reformers hoping to ban child labor, reduce the length of the work day and expose unsanitary workplaces.

The exhibition draws from the National Archives’ collections to tell this compelling story. It includes songs, hard hats and other features that make this exhibit family friendly. Along with The Way We Worked, Artworks is presenting exhibits about Big Rapids’ logging history and work in public safety. We are also pleased to present paintings from artist Paul Collins’ America at Work series, sponsored by the Ferris State University Fine Art Gallery. Some of the workshops, music, films, and other events related to the exhibit are listed below.

Please visit The Way We Worked Schedule for a complete list of scheduled events and updates, and The Way We Worked Resources for Teachers for a list of sites that provide useful educational resources.

The Way We Worked has been made possible in Michigan by the Michigan Humanities Council. The Way We Worked, an exhibition created by the National Archives, is part of Museum on Main Street, a collaboration between the Smithsonian Institution and State Humanities Councils nationwide. Support for the Museum on Main Street has been provided by the US Congress. Support for The Way We Worked in Michigan has been provided by the National Endowment for the Humanities.
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And special thanks to our local partners:

Great Lakes Books and Supply
Ferris State Fine Art Gallery
Big Rapiods Community Library
Hanchett Manufacturing
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Fifth Third Bank logo
City of Big RapidsBig Rapids Public Safety

Museum Tour partners: Bergelin House, the FSU College of Pharmacy, the Jim Crow Museum, the Mecosta County Historical Society, and the Old Jail

Cathy Johnson
Bob Garrells
Barb Bazan
Doug Fonner
Shirley Lerew
Lolly Nichol
Sylvia Palmer
Artworks Board and Staff

Secret Mantra by Le Quoc Viet

the artist viet
Exhibition Dates: April 4 – May 30, 2014
Opening Reception: April 4, 2014

“Secret Mantra” is an art installation about the loss of the root language of Vietnam and everything that entails. The art of Le Quoc Viet focuses on history through the representation of ancient calligraphy as a metaphor. The images reference mantra pillars from Dinh Dynasty and are applied on illuminated fabric lanterns.

secret mantra bannersThe Indochina Arts Partnership conducts programs of cultural development and artistic and educational exchange between the United States and the countries of Southeast Asia, with a primary focus on Vietnam.

Founded, in 1888, to foster cultural understanding through shared art, the non-profit IAP has produced two widely traveled exhibitions (As Seen by Both Sides and An Ocean Apart) of modern work by Vietnamese and American artists. The Partnership has sponsored residencies in America for more than one hundred Vietnamese visual artists, writers, and teachers.

Secret Mantra by Le Quoc Viet is sponsored by the Ferris State University Art Gallery.

Art Attack

2014 art attack logoMarch 2014

Artworks is proud to host the 24th annual Art Attack exhibit. Art Attack is an area-wide event that features selected works by students in grades K-12, and includes participants from Big Rapids, Chippewa Hills, Evart, Morley Stanwood, and Reed City public schools, as well as from Crossroads Charter Academy, St. Peter’s Lutheran school, and the M.O.I.S.D. Communications program.

Andy Warhols’ “Silver Clouds”

Andy Warhol’s “Silver Clouds,” is an interactive exhibit combining light, air, movement, and audience participation to create an environment that is playful and engaging.

Exhibit will run from February 1st – February 28th

Bobcats to Bobwhites

Nature & Wildlife in Art
Painter Randy Hendricks, Taxidermist Jan Van Hoesen, and Classic Bird Prints by M. Bernard Loates


Red Tail Hawk by Randy Hendricks
Horned Owl by Randy Hendricks
Fox by Jan Van Hoesen
Cheetah by Randy Hendricks
Reaching Bobcat by Jan Van Hoesen
Sandhill Crane by M. Bernard Loates
Avery and Bobcat

Feel the difference, see the difference at Artworks Upper Gallery beginning Friday, November 8 between 10 AM and 5:30 PM. A feature of the new exhibit is a touching area with real animal skins and horns and tusks. Meet Randy Hendricks on November 13, Wednesday, between 6 and 8 o’clock. The public is invited to hear the artist presentation at 6 pm. Followed by the reception ending at 8pm. The exhibit, artist presentation and reception are free of charge. Catering is by Pere Marquette of Reed City.

The intriguing work of painter Randy Hendricks, taxidermist Jan Van Hoesen, and classic bird prints by master printer M. Bernard Loates of John James Audubon’s work bring a wide variety of art for all to enjoy. The Card Wildlife Education Center, Ferris State University Art Gallery and Artworks have collaborated to bring the works of artists Jan Van Hoesen, Randy Hendricks and Ferris’ “After Audubon” Collection to Big Rapids. The main exhibit is in the Upper Gallery of Artworks. Additional pieces are in display cases in FLITE and Williams Auditorium on Ferris State University’s campus. “Bobcats to Bobwhites: Wildlife in Art” runs from November into January.

Have you ever wondered what it takes to capture the wild and turn it into art? Well, Jan Van Hoesen does exactly that with her taxidermy art. Van Hoesen is a world champion taxidermist who creates breathtaking mammal mounts that possess an astounding realism. She is recognized by her peers as one of the top taxidermist creating custom small mammal displays.

Randy Hendricks, born in Grand Rapids Michigan 1959, grew up on a small farm. “I feel that growing up in the country helped me develop a real love for the created world says Randy, “the hours I spent playing in the woods and exploring gave me a basic understanding of the outdoors it also helped develop an appreciation and love for all of creation.” He is primarily self-taught and began painting professionally in 1982. He currently lives and works out of his studio in Howard City, Michigan. Randy has received several national awards and recognition in prominent art magazine editorials.

Finally, “Bobcats to Bobwhites: Wildlife in Art” features another unique form of animal art. The “After Audubon” Collection, which is a traveling exhibit by Ferris State University, features a collection of prints by M. Bernard Loates of John James Audubon’s originals. “After Audubon” is a part of the Ferris’ collection and is a recreation of Audubon’s plates “Birds of America” collection.

Creatures Great & Small; The Rich Tradition of Oaxacan Art

oaxacan-art250WBy Artists Jacobo & Maria Angeles
September 10 – October 31
Opening Reception 5-7PM, September 16

Jacobo and Maria are among the most highly regarded artisans in all of Mexico producing exquisitely carved and painted alebrijes that are in great demand by collectors throughout the world.

The carved wooden animals have an uncanny lifelike but abstract quality, and the painting – well, you must see it to believe it: elegant designs are executed in unbelievably minute and precise detail, using traditional Zapotec motifs and stunning natural colors. The colors are from natural ingredients grown in the Oaxacan countryside.

Work will also be shown in the display cases in the Kendall College of Art & Design, Federal Building and Ferris State University FLITE & Williams Auditorium.

Abeel and Van Antwerp Exhibits

July 2 – September 8

abeel-heron250wElizabeth Abeel
Elizabeth has a BA in Fine Arts from St. Lawrence University. For her, batik has been a process of experimentation and fascination that seems to just keep growing. “Each piece is a suspense. I’m always on the brink of controlling the process and of the process controlling me.” This struggle in process captures the quiet moments in nature, which are her main focus in subject matter, and breathes a unique life into each piece. Elizabeth demonstrates a command of this difficult process that is particularly evident in the amount of detail found in each of her batiks. Her work has not only won many awards, but has been published in Fiber Arts Design Book Two, a book devoted to excellence in fiber design.

Elizabeth’s work can be found at the Bier Gallery in Charlevoix, Michigan and in numerous art shows throughout the Midwest, including the Ann Arbor Summer Art Fair.

fans6-250wGlen Van Antwerp
Glen Van Antwerp is a master Cedar Fan Carver. This traditional carving style turns a solid piece of cedar into a delicate fan. It remains a single piece of wood. Glen learned the craft from his father and grandfather. He has refined his skill for half a century and is passing it on to his children and grandchildren.

Fan carving flourished in Europe for untold generations before immigrants brought it to Michigan lumber camps in the 19th century. Some old-time lumberjacks had rough reputations but most were family men, away from home for the winter. They spent long evenings sitting around a stove—singing, carving and telling stories. Glen’s grandfather Elmer was a third-generation Michigan logger who learned cedar fan carving in the camps. Later, he taught Glen’s father, and later yet they both taught Glen how to carve fans. In turn, Glen has taught the art to his own children and grandchildren.

Glen lives near Tustin, Michigan on property that has been family land for more than a century. He harvests Northern White Cedar from his own land, using windfall timber and saving living trees for future generations. His favorite carvings come from the deeply weathered wood of old split-cedar fence posts.

He received The Michigan Heritage Award from the Michigan Traditional Arts Program in 2001. Glen has been a guest artist at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival, The National Folk Festival, The Michigan Festival and many similar events. His work has also been displayed in various galleries and exhibitions, and featured in several books, including “Hands Across Michigan” by Alan R. Kamuda, “The Traveler’s Guide to American Crafts” by Suzanne Charmichael, and “Crafts of America” by Constance Stapleton.

Flowers of Fancy: Kreative Kamp Challenge Project

Nine unique quilts now occupy center stage in the Artworks Upper Gallery. This special invited exhibit is planned by Artworks every other year in conjunction with the Quilters Glory Quilt Show that takes place in June 2013. Millie Little, Naomi Lint, Linda Benton, Karen Karcher, Pat Little, Kathy Stolarak, Darlene Dargitz, Wendy Vining and Sheila Lingle are members and friends of Kreative Kamp in Remus. They all worked within the challenge rules using the same patterns. The amazing results are nine totally different looking quilts.

The reception will take place on Sunday, May 5, from 2:00-4:00pm. Everyone is invited to join in this celebration of spring and to meet the quilters.
Continue reading to learn about the challenge rules

Art Attack Is Here!

Once again, our upper gallery will house the vibrant and unique art from area K-12 art students. Included in this year’s display are selected pieces from Artworks’ After School classes and seven districts: Big Rapids, Reed City, Chippewa Hills, St Peter’s Lutheran, Crossroads Charter Academy, Evart, and Morley Stanwood. Art Attack runs from March 6 to April 12 with a special reception planned for the artists and their families on March 17 from 12-3 p.m. If you haven’t been to see Art Attack in years past, you must come this year. It is an explosion of talent, creativity and youth to warm your heart and energize your soul with hundreds of works on display.