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Ferris State University’s Art Gallery Teams with Big Rapids’ Artworks

Creatures Great and Small: The Rich Tradition of Oaxacan ArtFerris State University’s Rankin Art Gallery and Big Rapids’ Artworks are partnering to showcase art and activities that educate and enrich the university and the community it calls home.

The collaboration will allow the gallery to continue to exhibit works since its location in the Rankin Student Center closed in May as part of the new University Center project. The gallery is expected to reopen in January 2015 as the University Center Gallery

“The collaboration will allow the Rankin Gallery to actively exhibit art during construction,” said Carrie Weis, the gallery’s director. “This partnership is a beautiful demonstration of the goodwill and the ongoing support that is intrinsic to our community.”

The partnership has been deemed “Art is Stepping Out.” Exhibitions co-curated by Weis and Artworks special exhibits director Pat Heeter will be displayed in the upper gallery of Artworks’ downtown Big Rapids location. The exhibits will be complemented by “mini exhibits” in various locations on campus.

“While normally art is relegated to the confinement of the gallery walls, it will, at least for the next 18 months, be out and about,” Weis said. “I believe the result of this partnership will be an increased awareness of the cultural environment that exists both on campus and in the community.”

More workshops, demonstrations and classes designed to enrich the viewing experience of exhibitions on display also are in the works to “educate and inspire, as well as encourage greater interaction between the community and campus,” she said.

While the partnership allows the Ferris gallery to continue showing art during the University Center project, it is an opportunity for Artworks to offer exhibitions it otherwise could not provide, Heeter said.

“The commitment the university has made to maintain its presentation of exceptional art is a gift to area residents as well as university students,” she said. “This is a win-win. Artworks will provide the gallery space free of charge. Ferris will provide the exhibits and receptions.”

Both Weis, one of Artworks’ founding members, and Heeter hope the partnership will boost attendance and participation at both galleries in the future.

The partnership’s first exhibition is “Creatures Great and Small: The Rich Tradition of Oaxacan Art,” work by Maria and Jacobo Angeles, from Tuesday, Sept. 10 to Thursday, Oct. 31. Work will be displayed at Artworks, at Ferris’ Williams Auditorium and the Ferris Library for Information, Technology and Education on campus, and at Ferris’ Kendall College of Art and Design Woodbridge N. Ferris Building in Grand Rapids.

The exhibit features alebrijes, carved and painted wooden animals created by the couple well-known in Mexico for their work.

On Monday, Sept. 16, an artist reception will be held at Artworks and an artist demonstration is planned on campus. Workshops and demonstrations for all ages will be scheduled in Big Rapids and Grand Rapids.