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President Ford Featured In ArtPrize Exhibit At Airport


Art Prize 10 kicks is now underway in Grand Rapids and one of the venues wants to make sure you know about it.  The Gerald R. Ford Airport is once again serving as a venue.  Officials say it's their second year and they’ve doubled the number of exhibits they’re hosting.  One exhibit in particular is already garnering buzz. It includes the man the airport is named after.

“We’re already hearing buzz from people who might be picking someone up, traveling out and they’re walking around and sort of mesmerized by all the art.”

This year The Gerald R. Ford International Airport has 14 exhibits pieces of art on display… twice as many as last year.  Marketing and Communications Director, Tara Hernandez says the artwork is on display with most upstairs near the observation deck, others are closer to the east end.

“It’s really an honor for us to be part of ArtPrize, we’ve been a long time sponsor, but it’s nice to be hosting as well.”

Hernandez says one of the highlights or more notable exhibits is one that is a portrait that includes the airport’s namesake.

“It’s called 1934 and it’s a portrait of a young, President Gerald Ford, when he was playing at the University of Michigan and his teammate Willis Ward.  And if you read President Ford’s book, he talks about this story.  I believe he had transferred from Georgia Tech to the University of Michigan and due to segregation and civil rights, the U of M was not going to let him play.  And so, President Ford fought and went through a lot of adversity and discrimination for his friend to get some playing time and that’s what this portrait is. It’s very large, takes up a large portion of one of our walls.”

Hernandez mentions two other notable exhibits: “Fearless and Matthew’s View”.

“We also have an artist who just fled from her home in North Carolina this past weekend as Hurricane Florence was coming into her home town. She’s here in Michigan attending ArtPrize. We also have a really cool piece entitled, “Matthews View.” It’s a father son piece. The father Tom is  battling cancer right now.”

ArtPrize kicked off today and runs through October 7th.  It features the work of more than 14-hundred artists at more than 160 venues.

Jennifer is an award winning broadcast news journalist with more than two decades of professional television news experience including the nation's fifth largest news market. She's worked as both news reporter and news anchor for television and radio in markets from Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo all the way to San Francisco, California.