Story by Yashowanto Ghosh, Staff Writer
Photo courtesy of Janet Tunis, LowellArts
The work of ten artists and one poet, all of them associated with Aquinas College, make up a show running right now at LowellArts, a nonprofit art gallery in the neighbouring town of Lowell, Michigan.
The show is divided into two sections. One section, called “New Collaborative Works,” consists of nine pieces by sculptor Ron Pederson, Professor Emeritus of Art, and poet Miriam Pederson, Professor Emerita of English; the other section, called “Give and Let Go,” features four professors of art, four art alumni, and one current student in the B.F.A. program.
Each piece by Ron and Miriam Pederson consists of both a sculpture and a poem. In each of the nine pieces, the sculpture and the poem are interdependent, but to differing extents, and it is really the interaction between the sculpture and the poetry that is the ultimate work of art. Ron and Miriam Pederson have perfected the collaborative process with years of practice, and they even developed a cross-listed class at Aquinas, EH/AT 240, Artists and Writers in Collaboration, where they together taught their process to teams, each consisting of an art student and an English student each. The pieces in the current show, however, are all new. Miriam Pederson said all nine pieces were created within the last six months specifically for this show, and that the artist and the poet had, in fact, been “grateful for the deadline.”
“Give and Let Go” has work by four current art professors of Aquinas: Steve Schousen, Dana Freeman, Chris LaPorte, and Nate Larreau. It also has work by five students, invited by Ron and Miriam Pederson and the four professors in “Give and Let Go.” Schousen invited fifth-year senior Caroline Cook, the only current student in the show; Freeman invited alumnus Ben Pederson, who also happens to be Ron and Miriam Pederson’s son; LaPorte invited alumnus Alex Whiteley; Lareau invited alumnus Dale Domer; and Ron and Miriam Pederson invited alumna Joyce Recker. LaPorte and Lareau are also themselves Aquinas alumni.
Janet Tunis of LowellArts explained how the show came into being: Ron and Miriam Pederson originally responded to a call for proposals issued by the gallery. Afterward, because the gallery is large enough for two normal-sized shows, the gallerists and the two artists brainstormed about what else they could hang alongside the collaborative pieces, and came up with the idea for “Give and Let Go.”
The gallery is at 223 W Main St, Lowell, MI 49331—driving east from campus for just 20 to 25 minutes on Fulton—and show runs until October 20. The gallery’s next program after the show will be their annual holiday market, which will open on November 6.