The Making of an ArtPrize Entry

A documentary, shot and edited by journalism junior Daniel Hamburg, shows what went into the making and installation of Henry Brimmer’s 2014 ArtPrize entry, “there’s something happening here...”


A tough piece to edit, Hamburg condensed six hours of footage into 7.5 minutes. He said he was thrilled to have the opportunity to showcase not only his talents behind the camera but also Brimmer’s talents in front of it.


The documentary is receiving national and statewide recognition by placing ninth out of 72 entries in the national Hearst Journalism Awards Narrative Multimedia Storytelling – Features category. It also received an honorable mention in the 2015 Michigan Student Broadcast Awards Mini-Documentary category.


Student and Faculty Work Receive Acclaim at ArtPrize

The outstanding art produced by College of Communication Arts and Sciences (ComArtsSci) faculty and students was in the spotlight at the world’s largest open-entry art competition. Among the top entries at ArtPrize 2014 were works by Associate Professor of Journalism Geri Alumit Zeldes and a team of ComArtSci students and by Assistant Professor of Advertising Henry Brimmer.


ArtPrize, which took place Sept. 24-Oct. 12 in Grand Rapids, Mich., marked the sixth year for the international art competition and the fourth year in a row Brimmer has competed. His entry, “there’s something happening here...,” featured life-size soldiers on the roof of the Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts (UICA) building. It was named to the Top 5 in the Jurors’ Shortlist in the Installation category, an impressive achievement considering the 2014 competition had 1,537 entries representing 51 countries and 42 U.S. states.


But that wasn’t the first time Brimmer’s work was among the top ArtPrize picks. His 2013 entry, “I want to be different...,” was named to the Top 5 in the Best Use of Urban Space category in the Jurors’ Shortlist out of 1,524 entries. The year before that, there were 1,517 entries and his “Gravity Matters Little” entry was among the Top 25 in the public vote.


One of the favorites in the 2014 public vote in the Time-Based category was “The Living History Project: Stories Told by Michigan’s Oldest Old” by Zeldes and six ComArtSci students – Jennifer Cermak, Asha Dawsey, Andrea Raby, Gabriela Saldivia, Anna Shaffer and Carmen Scruggs.


“Our goal is to document the stories of Michigan’s oldest old, elderly people who have really interesting stories that we would love to tell and share with the world,” said Saldivia, a senior majoring in journalism and Spanish and specializing in documentary studies.


Part of a larger project for a TV/radio series that will air on WKAR in May 2015, The Living History Project provides a window to the state’s rich cultural history by telling the stories of Michigan residents 85 years of age or older through short videos that reveal the thoughts of these older adults on their longevity, resilience and quality of life.


“The project bridges communication arts and sciences with its visual expressions and health research aims,” Zeldes said.


Zeldes and her team are still interviewing more members of the oldest old and plan to have 15 videos completed by April in the hopes that WKAR Radio will select five to air as part of a series in May during senior citizen month.


Supported by a $15,000 grant from the Michigan Humanities Council, the long-term vision for The Living History Project is to follow two or three of the older adults for a longer period of time and do a feature-length film on them.


Opportunities also are being explored to showcase the project in other ways on campus and in the community to celebrate the contributions of the state’s seniors and to engage issues related to this population. One way this is being done is through journal articles that probe storytelling as a therapy for members of the oldest old population. Zeldes is working on these articles with Eric Freedman, Associate Professor of Journalism, and Linda Keilman, Assistant Professor of Health Programs in the College of Nursing.


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