Tommy Allen Article on ArtPrize Comments on RUST

Thanks to columnist Tommy Allen for the shout-out on today’s front page of The Grand Rapids Press! He calls RUST written by Austin Bunn, with Working Group Theatre “touching but never trite”.

ArtPrize needs to move beyond popular venues, pandering art
By: Tommy Allen
Published: Monday, October 03, 2011, 10:41 AM

I have spent my entire life looking at art, not studying it in the classroom or looking at on museum walls and then moving on to other topics.

Tommy Allen Photo Credit: Rex Larsen | The Grand Rapids Press

It was my father who taught me to look at my world and record it as a photographer. He encouraged me to use his camera and look at things from a different perspective. Unbeknownst to me at the time, his advice taught me to find my own voice and not mimic what had come before.

He is not a man who studied art either but he crafted a photography business that he later ended to pursue a skilled trade for GM in Flint. He abandoned his photographic studio and moved north for a better life.

My mother also made sure art was a part of her kids’ lives. She’d purchase classical music LP recordings offered weekly as a promotion at Meijer Thrifty Acres and we listened.

Business and art easily intersected in my life.

So, what does this have to do with ArtPrize’s Top 10 announcement? Plenty.

On Thursday night before the big announcement, scores of people gathered outside the Grand Rapids Art Museum, scores more sat around the glow of their televisions in living rooms and area pubs to see what art had made the Top 10. The people of Grand Rapids listened while ArtPrize’s Founder Rick DeVos read off the Top 10 names.

As the works were read off, people began to light up my phone and Twitter feed with reactions. I must admit, even I got into the mix with reactions sometimes best left unstated for now.

While I would end up visiting two other presentations, I would experience something truly remarkable, a feeling that gave me hope beyond the results of the most recent Top 10. The first stop was the world debut of “Rust” – a touching but never trite play by GVSU professor Austin Bunn about the closing of the GM plants in Wyoming. The second stop was to see the live creative-fueled art-meets-business event: Style Battle. (…)

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Filed under In The News, Plays and Productions

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