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Grand Rapids in 1856

Scene of early Grand Rapids viewed from the...

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More about Tracy Van Duinan, 2nd place

Artist bio: Tracy received a BFA in Visual Communications from Kendall College of Art & Design. He worked as an Art Director for seven years on national advertising campaigns for Hewlett-Packard, Coca-Cola and Sega Genesis.

In 1997, he completed a BFA in Art Education from the University of Illinois, Chicago, and joined the Chicago Public Art Group. Through his work in the Chicago Public School system, he's helped urban teenagers create a dialogue with their communities by creating painted murals, tile mosaics and sculptures. Because of this work, Tracy received several awards including the distinguished Golden Apple Award for Teaching in 2001, and the Kendall College of Art and Design's Distinguished Alumni Award the same year. His most recent mural won the Chicago Reader "Reader's Choice" Award for Best Public Art.

As a muralist, Van Duinen is currently using the Bricolage technique to transform blighted underpasses off Chicago’s Lake Shore Drive into works of community art.

Artist statement: I have been working as an artist/educator in the Chicago Public Schools for twelve years. The work I have produced during this time has been in collaboration with my students and various community members. It's the "process", more than the content of the work, that has become my art form. I have been able to create large-scale murals by bringing together community, public and private organizations, and municipalities to support at-risk teens of Chicago. The melding of all of these groups in the creation of art develops a dialogue that wasn’t present previously.

The meaning in my work is found not only in its content, but in the journey a community takes when they use public art to discuss their personal experiences and transform the area in which they live. The creative process requires participants to engage in a larger group dialogue and come to a consensus to create common themes.

Description of work: Imagine That! celebrates the creativity and imagination of children. The three central figures represent children from all walks of life. Painted and tiled circles depict the wonder of kids at play. The mural also includes a scavenger hunt and word find to promote exploration and discovery.

A community mural, this piece includes small paintings created by children, teenagers and adults during workshops at the Children’s Museum and Grandville Art Center. These groups also placed tiles in the mosaic.

This mural is meant to be interactive and ever changing. Look closely, you will always find something new, like a child’s artwork or a quote. Viewed from a distance, you see something reflected in the mirrors that wasn’t there a minute ago: a passing car, a red shirt, trees blowing in Veteran’s Park. The reflection also changes with the passing of time. Morning to evening. Summer leaves change to Fall colors. Just like our children, the mural is never the same from one moment to the next.

Work statement: I believe strongly in using my art to empower people. I have worked with at-risk youth in Chicago's inner city for twelve years to create large scale murals and sculpture. The process used to create the mural is part of the art form. It allows opportunity for community members to come together and build fellowship.

Art form: 2-D, 3-D

Medium: Bricolage mural

Year created: 2009


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