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Rockford artist showing at ArtPrize

Jerry Berta, of Rockford, who some will remember as the founder of the former Rosie’s Diner, on 14 Mile, is in the process of creating a piece, with the help of students, that he hopes might start a conversation at ArtPrize.

Berta has shown work each year at ArtPrize, and his latest piece is hanging from the upper level of Calder Plaza, overlooking Monroe Ave., and across from the entrance to the DeVos Convention center.

This piece by artist Jerry Berta, titled The Conversation, asks what would these three American leaders talk about?

This piece by artist Jerry Berta, titled The Conversation, asks what would these three American leaders talk about?

“My piece is titled The Conversation,” said Berta. “What would President Lincoln, President Obama, and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. talk about? I think they would share in a smile. This piece started out with just the two great American leaders (King and President Obama) being painted, with the thumbprints and handprints of Ellington Academy. As we worked on the mural and the students started imagining what the conversation might be, President Lincoln became part of the conversation,” he explained.

The mural ended up being 37 feet long by 12 feet high. Instead of using brushes to apply paint, students used their hands and fingers to dab paint in the impressionistic style. “Up close it will look like a bunch of color dabs. But as the viewer moves away, The Conversation between three great American leaders comes into focus,” noted Berta.

Students from Bowen, Meadowlawn and Explorer Elementary schools in Kentwood Public Schools are also part of this project.

Berta said it is a work in progress and he and the viewers at ArtPrize7 will finish it.

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