The art of business

by Mary Isca Pirkola

photos by Amanda Pitts

More than 350 works of art adorn the Seidman Center, including oil pastel tulips by Dutch artist Addy P. Coumou.

The L. William Seidman Center learning environment is greatly enhanced by more than 350 works of art that range from fun to fabulous.

Included are paintings, prints, photography, textiles, metal works, sculptures and even doodles. Bill Seidman sketched many elaborate doodles during years of meetings while he served as chair of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. A variety of his intricate drawings are framed and on display in the second-floor lounge, across from the Trading Room.

Many prints and photographs exhibited in nearby rooms illustrate the changing nature of trading throughout history, from an Ancient Roman trading ship to a variety of street markets, such as the Medina of Fez in Morocco, and women market traders in Thailand in boats laden with fruit and flowers. Images of stock exchanges and trading floors in Chicago and New York are present, as well as those from Tokyo, Frankfort, Paris and London.

The global aspect of business is also reflected in a number of international artists and works. An impressive series of vivid oil pastel drawings of tulips by Dutch artist Addy P. Coumou grace the two-story window walls facing onto the student courtyard. Four scenes of rural life in India are depicted in 3-D by Medha Rode. Folk art pieces are from China and Egypt, and a series of brightly colored and textural Tjukurrpa dreaming images were done by aboriginal artists from Australia.

Clans of the Anishinabek

Many works throughout the Seidman Center are by artists with an international reputation, including John Buck from Montana, Vera Klement from Chicago, Cyril Lixenberg from The Netherlands, and Alexander Calder from Pennsylvania, among others.

Works by renowned local artists include City Life, a mixed-media piece by Gretchen

Minnhaar, an artist and architect who grew up in South America and settled in Michigan in the 1970s, and the impressive outdoor sculpture garden piece, Clans of the Anishinabe, by Native American artist Jason Quigno, a member of the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe of Michigan. Standing more than 10 feet tall, the limestone sculpture depicts the tribes original people with symbolic animals, including turtle, bear, marten, sturgeon, loon, eagle and crane in a modern totem style.

Alumni works are also in abundance, including Views of Grand Valley oil paintings by Elizabeth Jarvis, 02; a still life by Richard Kooyman, 79; photographs from Grand Rapids five Sister Cities by Dan Watts, 79; and a piece by Detroit artist Hubert Massey, 83, who is noted for his collaboration with communities. A large mural, over the entrance from Front Street, was also created under Masseys guidance by Detroit students at a Grand Valley-authorized charter school.

Inside and out, the Seidman Center is a showcase, said Henry Matthews, director of Grand Valleys Galleries and Collections. Working with an arts advisory committee, Matthews selected many of the pieces to reflect the business of business in a variety of medium. Some pieces were gifts from donors, or directly from the artists, while others were chosen simply to add another form of intrinsic beauty.

Page last modified August 26, 2013