Water Dance

The “Old Rugged Cross” with a new slant

April 21, 2011 // 0 Comments

Just in time for Holy Week for one West Michigan church by CLIFF AND NANCY HILL In 2009 the church family of Cornerstone United Methodist Church of Caledonia moved into their beautiful new church home at the intersection of 84th Street and Kalamazoo Avenue. From humble beginnings in 1990, in the basement of Pastor Brad Kalajainen and wife Colleen’s home, Cornerstone has grown to a church family of some 1,100 members with weekly Saturday evening and Sunday morning services now approaching 2,000 attendees. The new church facility was created as an engaging and welcoming facility that would become a destination for the community. Toward that end they have succeeded beyond their wildest dreams. Designed and constructed in a contemporary/industrial style, the Cornerstone facility was meant to be nontraditional and flexible, demonstrating stewardship through the wise use of resources and respect for the environment. Set back from the busy intersection, the building lacked the look of a traditional church, prompting the church’s administrative council to look for a visible symbol to identify the building’s purpose to the countless hundreds of daily passersby. A decision was made to erect a large, prominent cross in the center of the circular driveway in the front of the church. Not just any cross, mind you, but a cross to be designed to mirror the image of Cornerstone’s logo—that being a slightly tilted cross “meant to convey the church’s personal style of being more casual and less rigid,” said church member Jay Brooks, the logo’s designer. Enter Rockford metal sculptor Steve Anderson of Anderson’s Metal Sculpture, who was brought to the church’s attention by Rockford resident and Cornerstone member Tracy Bowers, Cornerstone’s director of outreach and coordinator for the cross project. Squire readers will recognize Anderson as the creator of, among other notable sculptures, “Water Dance”—the depiction of three leaping fish that grace the face of Rockford’s Rogue River Dam. Locally, other prominent Anderson’s sculptures are the “Tom Brown Fire Hawk” located at the front entrance of the Cedar Springs High School football stadium and “The Rockford Fighting Ram” at the front entrance of North Rockford Middle School. Quickly recognizing Anderson’s genius, the church commissioned the sculptor to design and create a gleaming and textured-surface, stainless steel cross. Church leaders embraced […]

Fish to dance for joy in Rogue River

April 22, 2010 // 0 Comments

by CLIFF AND NANCY HILL One of the most popular entrants in last year’s 2009 ArtPrize competition in Grand Rapids was “Nessie,” who finished in sixth place in the inaugural event. Kids, in particular, loved “Nessie” as she regally floated in the Grand River while tethered to the Blue Pedestrian Bridge in the heart of downtown Grand Rapids. Rockford believes they can do Grand Rapids one better. Rockford City Manager Michael Young announced at the April City Council meeting that “Water Dance” had been completed by its creators and is almost ready to be installed above the water and in front of the concrete wall between the two wings of Rockford’s iconic Rogue River Dam. This could only happen in the biggest little city in Michigan! Readers may remember the Squire’s exclusive front-page coverage of “Water Dance” in the Dec. 3, 2009 edition (visit www.rockfordsquire.com to read the entire story). The imaginative and genius mind of Steve Anderson of Anderson’s Metal Sculpture in the CedarRock area was then in the midst of creating a stunning and breathtaking stainless steel sculpture of three leaping fish—not just any fish, but three fish synonymous with the Rogue River: a brown trout, a steelhead, and a rainbow trout. Anderson’s Metal Sculpture had been commissioned by the City of Rockford to create “Water Dance.” Costs associated, less labor, were underwritten by the Downtown Development Authority (DDA) and the Rockford Area Arts Commission. For his part, Anderson was gifting labor costs to the City he and his family have come to love. Last week we paid a return visit to Anderson’s studio, tucked away in the woods between Rockford and Cedar Springs, for an exclusive look at what for Anderson was a work of love. It is both beautiful and stunning and, when placed in front of the dam in the Rogue River, will encompass an area 25 feet wide by 9 feet high. The fish, of the three-dimensional sculpture, are awesomely grand in size. Coincidentally, “Nessie” was recently reported to be lurking in the waters of Rockford’s Rum Creek millpond. But those rumors turned out to be a great April Fools joke. “Nessie,” in reality, is currently suffering a slow deterioration in a temporary home on the waters of the […]