Cassie Jo Krause Atallah graduated Hope College in 2002. She lives in Holland and teaches art at Hopkins High School. Atallah’s ArtPrize entry is called Fruit of the Mind and Work of Human Hands. It is an optimistic view of the job market and a tribute to all tribute to all of the people who work hard every day. The work is a series of 12 wooden frames. From a distance, it appears as a rainbow of colors as the frames from left to right change from gloomy black and gray to a vibrant spectrum of colors. A closer view focuses on the hands emerging from the frames; each is making a gesture representing a type of career. The hands were cast from people in her life doing things that they do in as hobbies or in their actual jobs, many of whom live and work in West Michigan communities.
Daniel Atallah, a software engineer in Holland, was using a keyboard and mouse when his hands were cast. Elizabeth VanArk, a school social worker in Van Buren County, writer, and environmentalist who supports locally grown produce, was holding vegetables to represent farming. Carrie Postma, a Spanish Teacher in Hopkins and a mom, is holding baby food and a spoon to represent careers in child care. Crystal Falik, also a software engineer in Holland, was playing a recorder to represent music careers when her hands were cast. Sherry Olsen of Byron Center, who holds a degree in biochemistry, was holding an Erlenmeyer flask and test tube. Kyle Krause, a doctoral student of Clinical Psychology who taught at Hope College this spring, was doing child therapy when her hands were cast with her neice, Jayde Fazio, posing as the child in the therapy session.
These are just a few of the 12 total frames that comprise the work. Atallah chose the title as a commentary on how our jobs (past, present, and future) become parts of our identities and affect our lives in ways both subtle and profound. “As a teacher, I hope that my students will have the opportunity to work in careers that they truly enjoy,” she said, and “as a friend and family member, I am constantly in awe of the variety of things that the people in my life do on a daily basis. I appreciate people whose work has a positive effect on their communities. This project is a tribute to all of you.”
ArtPrize is an open art contest based in Grand Rapids, MI. This year, it takes place from September 19 through October 7, when 1,517 artworks will be displayed at 162 venues throughout the city. Cassie Jo Krause Atallah’s work will be at DeVos Place Convention Center at 303 Monroe Avenue NW which will be open from 9AM until 8PM Monday-Thursday, 10AM until 10 PM Friday-Saturday, and 12PM until 6PM on Sunday.
DeVos Place is managed by SMG. Since 1977, SMG has provided management services to more than 220 public assembly facilities worldwide. Across the globe, SMG manages more than 12 million square feet (1.2 million square meters) of exhibition space and over 1.5 million arena and theatre seats. As the recognized global industry leader, SMG provides venue management, sales, marketing, event booking and programming, construction and design consulting, and pre-opening services. SMG has managed Van Andel Arena since 1996 and DeVos Place since 1994. For additional company information, visit smgworld.com.