Residing in prominence

August 24, 2009
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More than 70 works by students and faculty at Kendall College of Art and Design of Ferris State University have been selected for display in the public areas of the Lansing residence of Gov. Jennifer Granholm, and her family. In support of Michigan arts and artists, the state partners with an organization to loan artworks for one year. Previous organizations invited to display artwork have included the Urban Institute of Contemporary Art and the Detroit Artists Market.

“This is the first year that Kendall, as an individual organization, has been selected,” stated Kendall’s Director of Exhibitions, Sarah Joseph. “In the past, some students and faculty have been selected as part of another organization, but this year all the work will be from Kendall.”

The Governor’s Lansing Residence was designed by American architect, Wallace Frost, and built in 1957 for Howard and Letha Sober, who donated it to the state in 1969. The contemporary residence, a departure from Frost’s usual style, sits on approximately four acres in the Moores River Drive neighborhood of Lansing. Prior to Granholm, former governors Milliken, Blanchard and Engler occupied the residence.

Selected for exhibition are works by students Cathi Isza, Susan Mulder, Tom Post, Molly Pettengill, Katie Johnson, Tracy Fouts, John Wagoner, Brooke Wendt, Jessica Page, Kristen Eakin, Kyle Isbell, Lacey Peacock, Meagan Snyder and Jovonnah Nicholson. Faculty members exhibiting are Israel Davis, Adam DeKraker and Patti Constantine. Works include photography, painting, drawing, ceramic sculpture and mixed media. They will be on display from August 2009 through July 2010.

A busy fall for DWM

The organization that is promoting design as an economic building block and branding West Michigan as “design centric” has a series of events this fall.

The first event is not by DWM, but does have some ties. The Muskegon Museum of Art will open a nationally-traveling exhibit, “Good Design: Stories from Herman Miller.” Along with the event will be the release of “Herman Miller: the Purpose of Design,” which was written by John Berry, the driving force behind DWM.

The exhibit opens in Muskegon from Aug. 21 to Nov. 8 then begins its tour around the U.S.

“To me, it’s about branding West Michigan as Design Centric,” said Berry. “Here are … museums around the country who are taking this exhibit because they believe in the importance of design as problem solving, so does that help West Michigan? Absolutely.”

On September 15, DWM will host another meeting for designers at the J.W. Marriott. Ric Grefé, executive director of AIGA, the professional association for design; will be the keynote speaker. During the event George Erickcek will give an update on the design research that looks at the connection between design and economic growth.

Berry will be the keynote at the Sept.17 event, “A Night with Nelson.” The event is part of the Saugutuck Center for the Arts, About It lecture series.

“It’s a talk that includes excerpts that I pulled from an oral history that I did with him when I was at Herman Miller, so it’s actually George talking about stories,” Berry said.

And finally, on Sept. 24 the topic of the DeVos Annual Art Lecturer will be “The Purpose of Design” presented by, you guessed it, Mr. Berry.

A lonely battle

Word came last week that no more Consumers Energy customers can switch to another company for electricity — the ten percent cap on customer choice had been reached. Now any customer wishing to switch to a lower-cost alternative to Consumers will be put on a waiting list until another customer drops service from an alternative energy supplier.

The Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce quickly issued a press release, stating the "cap must be raised."

"By eliminating competition, manufacturers cannot seek the best price for one of their most important manufacturing inputs," said Jeanne Englehart, president and CEO of GRACC.

When the Electric Choice and Reliability Act was passed last year, GRACC was pretty much the Lone Ranger among the Michigan chambers in its opposition to it.

Jared Rodriguez, GRACC's senior vice president of government affairs, told the Business Journal that to his knowledge, "we're still the only chamber that does not support the cap." But he, too, insisted they're going to fight.

The Customer Choice Coalition opposed the cap, and also weighed in last week with a demand to raise the cap. Its press release included comments by Sen. Wayne Kuipers, R-Holland, who said, "my colleagues and I must move quickly to raise the cap…to ensure more businesses can survive in Michigan."

Kuipers repeated that intent in conversation with the Business Journal, but he added one footnote.

"But I think that's going to be difficult," said Kuipers.

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