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Professor Welker enters art in Artprize

osh Welker paints finishing touches on “Astrobleme.” This exploding star is currently on display in Grand Rapids. (Provided by Josh Welker)

Josh Welker paints finishing touches on “Astrobleme.” This exploding star is currently on display in Grand Rapids. (Provided by Josh Welker)

By Grace Hooley | Echo

Assistant Art Professor Josh Welker drove past the Sierra Madera crater. He had recently finished an art piece for an exhibit called ArtPrize that will be held in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He originally titled it “The Exploding Star,” but something about this didn’t sit right in Welker’s stomach. As he contemplated the name, he gazed out over the west Texas meteorite mark left on Earth, and a new name came to him: astrobleme.

Welker recently entered his newest art piece into ArtPrize, an art exhibit in Grand Rapids that runs from Sept. 21 to Oct. 9. ArtPrize consists of artists who submit their art to be placed throughout the city. Welker’s piece is named “Astrobleme,” which is defined as the remnant of a large crater made by the impact of a meteorite or comet.

“You start with a square and make one, two, three points off of the square,” Welker said, describing the creation process. “Many things will fit. It just depends on what you are looking for at the time. I like the ring of astrobleme. It is not supposed to illustrate or represent something else.”

“Astrobleme” is located at the end of the Blue Bridge in Grand Rapids.

There are a few major events throughout the next two weeks, but Welker said that the city acts like one huge venue. He plans to continue entering pieces in other exhibits as well, but he is pleased to have “Astrobleme” in this exhibit.

“A really bright, bold sculpture would be fun for some people,” Welker said. “I am OK with it being that simple.”

Senior Peter Choand junior Isaac Beaverson went with Welker to help set up “Astrobleme” in Grand Rapids. Beaverson, a graphic design major, heard about this opportunity from Cho and was eager to help.

After going through this process with Welker, Beaverson is considering entering his own work in exhibits.

“He challenges us to think deeply and reflect on our work, without settling for something that isn’t quality,” Beaverson said. “Josh practices what he preaches in his own work, as seen in his many sculptures, including ‘Astrobleme.’ He is not one to skimp out on an opportunity, project or class and desires the best for his students.”

Welker also challenged Cho, who appreciates Welker’s perspective and insights. Cho admired the artist’s attention to detail and purposeful art.

As he prepares for his senior show, Cho wants to apply what he learned from Welker during the process of helping with “Astrobleme.”

“(Welker) has always challenged me to slow down and really take time to observe art to the fullest,” Cho said. “A few concepts that I want to implement into my show have been drawn from some of Josh’s latest geometric work.”

Welker plans on taking his family up to see “Astrobleme” next week, and he hopes to take a few students in October. ArtPrize allows both viewers and critics to judge art pieces to award cash prizes, but Welker says people must be present in order to vote. Welker would love to see someone purchase “Astrobleme.”

“People can buy stuff, and all sort of connections are made,” Welker said. “I hope to not have to bring it back. Hopefully it is kind of a lineage of works.”

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