By Ritch Branstrom
Growing up on the west side of Detroit, the son of a diesel mechanic and the youngest of four boys, a young Ritch Branstrom observed in awe and wonder the things happening around him. Having older brothers something was always happening in the garage. From an early age motorcycles and cars were fascinating. In his early teens he started making contraptions. Watching his father totally reconstruct the sheet metal on the bottom of a van showed him that with a little bit of scrap metal and patience one could create almost anything.
Walk of Art Sign
By Art Brown
Marking the entrance to the Walk of Art is a specially designed piece commissioned to Art Brown of Torch Tip Iron Works in Central Lake. While Brown modestly describes himself as “welder” and “blacksmith,” he has, for 18 years, been a prolific producer of decorative and utilitarian architectural art forms.
By Arthur Lazaryan
“In my art works I often show the changes that happen in us and around us – past, present, and future. The colors and shapes represent time and people, as well as the dynamic flow of joy and appreciation of life.”
Summer Art Camp
Art Rapids was pleased to sponsor Art Camp once again in 2016. Again featuring instructors from Blackbird Arts of Traverse City, the camp was held July 12-15 in the Walk of Art. In July, 2015 Art Rapids! sponsored and underwrote a four day Art Camp in the Walk of Art for kids age 8-12.
By Maureen Bergquist Gray
"My sculpture is the expression of the universal energy that I tap into. This is the energy that flows through and around each one of us. I depend on the natural forces around me to be my guide, the energy of the material, the whisper of the wind, the ancient ones coaxing me onward. It is my privilege to listen. If my visual description is persuasive the viewer will see a glimmer of light radiating from these forms and then look within themselves for meaning creating their own version of this age old story."
By Ann Gildner
Ann Gildner is artist-in-residence at the Iron One Studio in Cheboygan, MI, where the independent artists who are its members design, work and collaborate in making metal artwork. Becca Triumphs is somewhat autobiographical in nature, reflecting the artist's own triumph after surviving breast cancer.
By Michael Angelo Magnotta
“I began with two gorgeous elements: aged burl and a curvaceous piece of farm implement with a textured patina. Combining these two elements into a coherent design that integrates the inherent nature of each into a new whole was my intent. Trees grow freely in nature; man imposes agriculture; this piece represents the sometimes uncomfortable juxtaposition of the two."
Singing Pail of Dreams
By John Goss
John Goss is a nationally recognized sculptor, specializing in realistic wildlife sculptures created through the use of recycled metals. John is a full time artist operating out of his Northern Michigan studio. His work is displayed at public and private locations throughout the United States.
By David Petrakovitz
Of his work, Petrakovitz writes that Botanical Forms is comprised of elements that, when combined, create positive and negative spaces that interact with the environment. It is constructed by welding the elements together with a powder-coated finish. Petrakovitz also has works in public exhibits at the Michigan Legacy Art Park, Fuerst Park in Novi, and in Chelsea, Michigan.
By David Greenwood
"Most of my sculptures over the past 30 years have been figurative, life-sized and metaphorical. They derive a lot from Folk Art and seem to suggest narratives. With the Seedpod Series, begun in 2004, I have turned to an interest in pure form and in abstraction from Nature. I cannot resist picking up seedpods. I collect them wherever I travel. They prove to me every time that no one can beat Mother Nature as designer. Their diversity is awe inspiring. "
By Michael Angelo Magnotta
Magnotta created Sailfish to bring awareness to the “depletion of sport fish world wide; [and to] memorialize this beautiful creature and allow it to sail, always, in our vision.” The piece is made of plasma-cut steel. Each scale is attached to the body individually; afterwards, the piece is cleaned, ground, and polished.
By M. Lennington
M. Lennington has written that “the inspiration for my work comes from the smell of wet clay, childhood experiences, nature, and faith in the process of transformation. Careful observations of gardens and the northern Michigan woods resulted in cocoons and seeds becoming some of my favorite themes. The moment of life emerging from a seemingly inert object fascinated me. These natural events of emergence after transformation mirror the experience of a ceramic piece taken from the kiln.
By Ann Gildner
Gildner describes Millie as an abstract work, a study of three shapes in three different metals. Her designs were plasma cut, then welded and pinned together.
By Jeff Whyman
Jeff Whyman is a St. Louis born Florida artist who works in steel, inspired in part by childhood memories of fascination with the const of the St Louis Arch. A favorite subject matter is the human figure, a consequence, he says, of “my desire to recreate human emotion and depict personality. The Whyman sculpture in Walk of Art is a steel rendering of whimsical little fellow caught (and titled), Off Balance. His work is in public, corporate, and private collections nation wide.
On the Ledge
By Dace Koenigsknecht
Of his work, Koenigsknecht writes, “This piece is inspired by the trees that grow atop the most precarious cliffs and ledges of Michigan - whether in Grand Ledge or Pictured Rocks in the beautiful Upper Peninsula. I find their bared roots and twisted trunks exhibit a rustic beauty not seen in traditional forests.” On the Ledge is Dace’s second sculpture in the Walk of Art, joining Golden Canopy which was installed in 2014.
Flying Fish Weathervane
By Dewey Blocksma
Dewey Blocksma is a Michigan artist who earned a B.S. degree in Chemistry from Wheaton College in Illinois, and who worked as an emergency room physician for ten years after graduating from Northwestern University Medical School. He is now an artist full-time.
By Brian Ferriby
Brian Ferriby’s Major 7th was added to the Walk of Art in 2015. "This sculpture is inspired by the rhythm, flow, and movement of music and nature.” Individual components of the piece are created, then welded together and polychromed. Ferriby’s works can be found in several other public art installations, including Michigan Legacy Art Park.
By David Petrakovitz
Art Rapids was pleased to add two more of Petrakovitz’s sculptures to the Walk of Art in 2017. Of his work, Petrakovitz writes, "Growing up in Detroit I developed an interest in early industrial forms and have tried to humanize the technology in our lives by making sculptures suggestive of industry but softened with figurative gestures."
By Tom Kaufmann
Perhaps best known for his musical talents, Tom Kaufmann has created this interactive, musical bell sculpture for the Walk of Art. This single bell “was inspired by an earlier work, ‘Kinderbells - the musical flower garden’ which was my 2013 ArtPrize entry. It was purchased by the City of Cadillac.”
I Love Michigan Cherries
By Joe Lueck
In 2013, several Northwestern Michigan college students formed MAD (Making A Difference) Cherries for Charity to raise funds for several area non-profits. Terry Berden, owner and founder of Great Lakes Stainless, commissioned this piece. It is now owned by Shoreline Fruit, Cherry Ke and Cherry Bay Orchards.