Art Highlights in the Office of the Provost

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The artwork on display in the Office of the Provost was selected in collaboration with Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs, Dr. Maria Cimitile, and support staff. Read on to learn more about some of the works of art on display, why they were selected, and the stories behind them.

Click the link below to access all artwork on display in the Office of the Provost.

All artwork on display in the Office of the Provost in the Art Collection Database

A seating area in the Provost Office in Zumberge Hall on GVSU's Allendale campus.

Seating area in the Office of the Provost in Zumberge Hall.

Left: From The Heavens ..., Terri Faxstein Dworkin, serigraph, c. 1970, 2012.99.2
Center: from the Young Flint Speaks series, multiple artists, paint and marker, 2016, 2018.11.282018.11.782018.11.56
Right: Transparent Twenty-Two, Megan Stone, acrylic on paper, 2013, 2014.22.1

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Large abstract painting on wood panel. Left side of the painting has a square shape in red and black with a smoke like brown shape whispering from the top. Right side background is all white with an organic yellow shape.

Lions, Tigers and Bears, Nuel Friend, latex paint, concrete trowel patch and polyurethane on wood panel, 2012, 2020.16.2

This piece is about a song by Jazmine Sullivan of the same title. In the song she sings about this extreme fear of falling in love. She sings 'I’m not scared of lions and tigers and bears, but I’m scared of loving you.' I didn’t initially think about this song when I began the painting, but as I continued to work it reminded me of the song. I saw these two opposing images. To the right, this almost human atmospheric image reaching out, and to the left, an image that reminded me of a sonogram like image of a teddy bear just floating there in space. The two images seem to be attracted and facing one another, but there is this implied separation that is emphasized. 'Just cause I love you and you love me, that doesn’t mean that we’re meant to be. Fly cross the ocean, sing for the queen, but the most frightening thing is you and me.' 
- Nuel Friend

View more work by Nuel Friend in the GVSU Art Collection.


Artist Nuel Friend visits GVSU to discuss his creative process and the value of art in higher education.

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Abstract design with think black lines and large sections of white over top red, orange, yellow, and green.

Transparent Twenty-Two, Megan Stone, acrylic on paper, 2013, 2014.22.1

Megan Stone's paintings bring you into a new world of intersecting and overlapping spaces, full of contrasting elements of color, shape and pattern. While she is influenced by her surroundings, her abstract forms challenge the sense of space for the viewer, asking them to decide what is familiar and what is real. To create the multi-layered images, Stone experiments with various tools to manipulate and layer on the surface of the canvas, creating, at times, unexpected surprises. Megan (Gurisko) Stone received her Bachelors of Fine Art in painting from GVSU in 2012.

Oil on canvas painting of an abstract landscape view. Top half of the painting is light blue with shades of red throughout. Bottom half id a much darker blue, like deep water. The center of the image, in the dark blue, are two white lines that look like an equal sign.

Be Vast- You Do Not Bring An Ocean To A River, Sheryl Budnik, oil on canvas, 2020.17.1

Growing up near Lake Michigan, water has always had a major influence on artist Sheryl Budnik’s work. Looking at one of her paintings you can almost hear the breaking waves, smell the lake air, and feel the cool breeze. Yet it is remarkable that Budnik achieves this feeling of begin surrounded by water with abstract images.

I think the title alone may inspire students: to go beyond your experience that is now and set your dreams high, be vast in what you want to accomplish with your education. Look to the endless horizon, always keep going forward. 
- Sheryl Budnik


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Three paintings by elementary aged students from Flint, MI, the paintings depict the students' thoughts on the Flint Water Crisis and how it's personally affected their lives.

Young Flint Speaks: Before And AfterKorvion J., paint and marker on paper, 2016, 2018.11.28
Young Flint Speaks: Flint Water Flint People, Shaleyn S., paint and marker on paper, 2016, 2018.11.56
Young Flint Speaks: Flint, Shakayla J. paint and marker on paper, 2016, 2018.11.78

During Winter semester of 2016, GVSU graduate student, Stephanie Smedley worked with students at Linden Charter School in Flint, MI- asking them to make artwork reflective of their reality. Smedley prompted the students with this question; “How has the detection of lead in the public water system impacted your life?” 

There is something so emotional, jarring, and honest about the artwork submitted by these middle schoolers. The bold use of color, the prevalence of water bottles, the recurring use of the word ‘help’ and the slogan Flint Lives Matter all leave a lasting impression. This artwork helps tell their stories, and the stories of their hometown.
Stephanie Smedley

The artwork produced by the students were utilized in an exhibition titled Young Flint Speaks and organized by the GVSU Art Gallery in collaboration with the GVSU Department of Charter Schools and Stephanie Smedley.

View all the Young Flint Speaks drawings in the GVSU Art Collection.


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Abstract image with two sections of off-pink on either side. There are two dark red squares near the lower right. Off-white or pink sections throughout the piece.

Lick, Daisy Mitchell, resin and pigment on canvas, 2001, 2010.43.2

Through the use of glossy, seemingly still wet layers of paint, artist Daisy Mitchell creates paintings that beg to be touched to really be experienced. Exploring seduction through abstract forms, Mitchell plays with ideas of intimate touch through her use of lustrous and smooth resin poured onto a canvas. Her choices in color and techniques, such as the areas where paint splatters and breaks up, plays even more with the senses. The organic shapes evoke conceptual images of movement and a luscious abstraction of the human body. Daisy Mitchell was represented by the Zolla/Lieberman Gallery in Chicago, IL which is owned by GVSU Alum, William Lieberman (‘79). The gallery historically has placed emphasis on showing women artists and other underrepresented groups.

Girl in a blue dress stands in the center. On her right is a large wooden door.

Lisbeth, Village AFCA, Port-Au-Prince, Haiti, Steven Smith, archival inkjet print, 2012, 2013.73.19

The country of Haiti suffered a massive earthquake in January, 2010 that killed between 46,000 and 86,000 Haitians. Several hundred thousand people remained in patchwork tent cities, in and around the capital, years after the earthquake. In 2012, GVSU School of Social Work Professor Dr. Steven L. Smith spent his sabbatical working in Haiti among some of the many tent cities in Port-au-Prince. Smith's work included a documentary photographic essay of the children and families he encountered.  The photographs captured by Smith were exhibited in collaboration with the GVSU Art Gallery in 2013 in an exhibition titled, Haiti's Children: Hope Amidst the Rubble

View all the photographs in the Haiti's Children exhibition. 

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Lithograph by Marc Chagall titled “Composition Fantastique” depicting figures performing in a town square, the style is imaginative and surreal

Composition Fantastique, Marc Chagall, color lithograph, 1976, 2013.68.9

Produced in Paris when artist Marc Chagall was nearly ninety years old, Composition Fantastique is an exceptional example of the artist's tendency to embrace fantastical and evocative imagery. It was created during a time in the artist’s career when he was influenced by a number of artistic movements, such as Surrealism and Cubism, and was reacting to how his own art was changing with the times. Consistent with Chagall's more notable works, the imagery in this print reflects a dream-like scene with bright splashes of color and fantastical creatures.

Painting of a large leaf plant on turquoise table with large yellow lamp and picture.

Land with Fern, Michael Pfleghaar, oil pastel on paper, 1993, 1998.298.1

As a local Grand Rapids artist, Michael Pfleghaar tries to create work that is out of this world. While he paints landscapes and still lifes inspired by Michigan scenery, he wants to bring something new to the ordinary. He focuses on simplicity in his compositions and experiments with abstraction. Pfleghaar's images are full of bright, exaggerated colors, simplified shapes, and twisted perspectives. He is less interested in capturing a realistic interpretation, instead he creates a scene that fully engages viewers and makes them wonder what it would be like to live in the world as Pfleghaar sees it.

In 1985 I began my undergraduate fine-art degree at Grand Valley State University. The arts program was attractive mainly because the faculty were practicing fine-artists, exhibiting extensively throughout the country. Under the mentorship, specifically from painter Don Kerr and ceramist Daleen Menning, I gained the skills and confidence to see art as a valid career option. Over the last thirty years I continue to develop my practice as a professional fine-artist.  If it were not for the GVSU arts faculty realizing my skills I would not be the artist I am today.
-Michael Pfleghaar

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Indiana limestone sculpture that sits on a square black granite base. Sculpture looks smooth, but has as rough/textured look to it. Sculpture has a twisted "infinity symbol" shape with a woman's face at the top right. Face is shinier / smoother than the rest of the sculpture.

Manidoo Nodin (Spirit Wind), Jason Quigno, Indiana limestone on black granite base, 2020, 2020.24.1

Grand Rapids artist Jason Quigno’s sculptures all start out the same way, as a solid block of stone. From there he sculpts with the movement of the stone, creating an apparent flow from something rigid. By polishing some areas and exposing the stone’s raw texture in other areas, he creates both balanced abstract forms and harmonious naturalistic forms. With the goal of creating a sense of peace, Quigno uses simple lines to craft fluid movement. His inspiration comes from the stories and oral traditions of the Saginaw Chippewa Tribe. 

I keep the stories of my people alive through stone. When I create, I am always pushing myself… and the limits of the stone to bring out a fluid and balanced form and to create artwork that is graceful, delicate and has a sense of movement. 
- Jason Quigno

Small spherical vessels in bronze and 24 karat gold by David Huang

Luminosity #149, David Huang, bronze, sterling silver, 23 karat gold leaf, 2001, 2002.608.1

Michigan artist, David Huang, is a treasure seeker, but not in the traditional sense of one who searches for wealth, he seeks to discover that which people treasure in their personal lives. He is inspired by those simple treasures as well as the beauty of natural landscapes and challenges himself to re-create that timeless beauty in copper, responding to the way it moves with each stroke of his hammer, its varied colors, and the way light shines and dances off its lustrous surfaces.

I don't think of my vessels as being an expression of my voice alone. Rather, I see them as the product of a conversation among the tools, materials, and myself in search of beauty….. we have the gold, associated for ages with the sun, that ball of energy which gives us life. The role that the gold plays in these pieces is almost magical. It invites us in and show us the light. It is this light which, to me, keeps these vessels from being empty. The light fills them with life. I find this symbolic of the inner spirit…. I see my role in this to be providing a conscious order, orchestrating the mix of voices, hoping to present a work we as humans can appreciate. It is my desire to bring about works that don't just symbolize, but actually evoke feelings of beauty and joy. 
David Huang

I have so many fond memories of David as a GVSU art student. David came to us determined to be a career professional artist. I remember distinctly him saying he never wanted to work for anyone else but wanted to be his own boss. With that in mind, he was voracious about learning. What I could not teach him, he learned on his own...then graciously shared with me, students and anyone else who was interested. He was always a committed and ambitious student reaching for perfection. What I find so rich about his work...and rewarding as a the manner in which his love of metal and drawing have melded into a unique body of work that continues to develop and grow. David utilizes every aspect of his education at Grand Valley in the creation of his work.
Beverly Seely, Professor Emerita of VMA 

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Building Projects

For more information about the Office of the Provost artwork refresh project, please contact our Project Manager, Alison Christensen;


For collections care and general questions about our art collections, please contact our Collections Manager, Nicole Webb;


For assistance in integrating artwork into the classroom and your teaching curriculum,  please contact our UX/Learning Manager, Amanda Rainey;