Student Perspectives on the Art Collection



Permanent link for Thank You to GVSU Essential Workers on June 5, 2020

Student Perspective provided by:
Megan Daniels
Major: Studio Art
Minor: Public & Nonprofit Administration
Class of 2023

Central Utilities Building
Perin Mahler
Oil on Linen

"Everyday spaces on GVSU’s campus that I used to see daily and not think twice about are now the places I miss most since leaving campus in March due to COVID-19. This oil painting by Perin Mahler is an inside look at GVSU’s Central Utilities Building and makes me think of all the essential workers who continue to go to campus each day to ensure Lakers’ second home continues to be safe, maintained, and clean. I think about the custodial staff in my freshman year dorm building (Holton Hooker Learning & Living Center) who would smile and say good morning to me everyday. A small gesture that made a big impact on me throughout my first year at GVSU. Thank you to all the GVSU faculty and staff who have worked endlessly over the past few months so students like me can continue to learn." - Megan Daniels

See GVSU essential workers in action and view the thank you video to GVSU essential workers.

Permanent link for Mathias Alten & the 1918 Spanish Flu on June 2, 2020

Student Perspective provided by:
Che Robinson
Major: Art History
Class of 2021

Twilight  and Forest Park
Mathias Alten
Oil on composition board
circa 1918
Private Collection

"While doing research on Mathias Alten for the Gallery I found that he was also semi-quarantined in Grand Rapids during the Influenza outbreak in 1918. The outbreak prevented him from traveling, so almost all of his paintings from this time are of local landscapes.

During the fall of 1918 public gatherings were discouraged in Grand Rapids and many people, including #Alten, went to the countryside to entertain themselves. For us, going on a walk or a hike is a great way to experience spring while also following social distancing guidelines." - Che Robinson

View more of Alten's work in his online catalogue raisonné.

Permanent link for Artists Responding to Crisis: Germs and Kindergartners at Coit Creative Arts Academy on June 1, 2020

Student Perspective provided by:
Megan Daniels
Major: Studio Art
Minor: Public & Nonprofit Administration
Class of 2023

The Germ On My Hand
Evangelina F.
Crayon and Watercolor

"This work of art was created by a kindergarten student at the Coit Creative Arts Academy in Grand Rapids, Michigan. This is how the student imagines the germs on her hands to look. I vividly remember posters in my elementary school bathroom that gave illustrated instructions on how to wash the germs off my hands. Now, I am reliving those years of being taught how to wash my hands thoroughly as the USA continues to fight the spread of the Coronavirus. This kindergartener’s creative depiction of a germ resembles the COVID-19 illustrations I see all over the media today and I wonder how the pandemic has and will continue to impact kids.

Both my parents work in k-12 public education and as stay at home orders were put in place I immediately heard about the feared negative impact it would have on children and teens mental and educational well being. Abigail Gewirtz, a child psychologist and professor at the University of Minnesota, provides insight on how parents and caregivers can provide support and understanding of COVID-19 for children and teens in an NPR podcast "Loss, Grief, Stress: How The Pandemic is Affecting Kids. Gewirtz along with many other mental health researchers are sharing what is known about childhood trauma from crisis and tragedy however a world pandemic is uncharted territory." - Megan Daniels

To view more artwork by students from Coit Creative Arts Academy visit the GVSU Online Art Collection.
Visit for helpful information about how to support kids during quarantine.

Permanent link for Artist Responding to Crisis: Matthew Schenk on May 28, 2020

Student Perspective provided by:
Megan Daniels
Major: Studio Art
Minor: Public & Nonprofit Administration
Class of 2023

Post Apocalyptic Airstream
Matthew Schenk
Oil on Panel

"What catches my attention in this painting is the red-orange glow on what looks to be a small airstream camper. My initial thought is that the glow is from a campfire but the glow seems to be coming from something much larger than a campfire. Matthew Schenk, a local Grand Rapids artist, painted this work and titled it ‘Post Apocalyptic Airstream’. With this title in mind, the narrative of Schenk’s painting changes for me completely. I realize that the camper is being used as a bunker and the glow is likely coming from a burning car or building. The excluded detail of what is causing the fiery glow contributes to the unsettling feeling I get from this painting. The textured grey shell, few windows and closed off metal door of the airstream camper, surrounded by an ominous grey to black gradient, also helps communicate the high intensity of Schenk’s oil painting. Before COVID-19, I never considered living in a bunker, shut off from the world, but as I dodge people at the post office with my latex gloves and fabric mask, a bunker doesn’t seem like such a bad idea. Everyone has a different response to crisis or tragedy, and I am realizing this more than ever as Michigan goes on its 71st day of Governor Whitmer’s Stay Home. Stay Safe. executive order." - Megan Daniels

Read more about Matthew Schenk's work in the GVSU Online Art Collection.

Permanent link for Art is Fluid on April 8, 2020

Student Perspective provided by:
Megan Daniels
Major: Studio Art
Minor: Public & Nonprofit Administration
Class of 2023

Party Masks
Corey Miller
Digital Print

"In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, GVSU switched to virtual teaching and learning on March 11th, 2020, leaving many students including myself rushing to get home, stay home, and stay safe. One GVSU student paused to Snapchat a piece of artwork installed in the hallway of their South E, Allendale Living Center during the required move out. The observed artwork titled, 'Party Masks,' shows a family gathered around a table with a cake and candles ready to be lit- a seemingly normal scene of celebration. What I imagine caught the student off guard during move out was the medical face masks worn by every family member in the print. No more than a month ago this image would be confusing and the masks would have felt out of context. But today, “Party Masks” perhaps depicts a new normal as increased fear of COVID-19 spreads." - Megan Daniels

To view more artwork by Corey Miller visit the GVSU Online Art Collection.

Page last modified June 5, 2020