Press release: GRCC artist-alumnae to speak at ArtPrize volunteer event



Leah Nixon

Director of Communications


Aug. 13, 2013 GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — A mother and daughter — both artists and GRCC alumnae — will speak at the ArtPrize Volunteer Kickoff Party that Grand Rapids Community College is sponsoring the evening of Aug. 14.

E. Lynne and Colleen O’Rourke are ArtPrize veterans and have pieces in this year’s event, which runs Sept. 18 to Oct. 6.

E. Lynne O’Rourke received her associate degree in art from GRCC in 1963 and a bachelor’s degree in art from Western Michigan University in 1965. She returned to GRCC in 1991 to further her art education for her own enjoyment. Ms. O’Rourke taught art in the Godwin Heights school district and also led private art lessons for children. She designed the 2002 Festival of the Arts poster. Her specialty is collage and she has exhibited widely, receiving many honors.

“During my first run at GRCC, the art instructors and my counselor encouraged me to take studio art classes, but also to include education classes in my curriculum so that I could teach,” she said. "That advice is what helped me focus my career toward art education and become an elementary art teacher.

“During my second run at GRCC, my art instructors encouraged me to create as much art as possible! That is what helped me launch my career as an artist.”

Her daughter, Colleen O’Rourke, received an associate degree in art from GRCC in 1989 and a bachelor’s degree in fine arts from the University of Michigan in 1992. She creates paintings and bead work, which can be seen in several public venues as well as numerous private collections.

“It was those basic art classes at GRCC that truly engaged me,” Colleen O’Rourke said. “I had wonderful instructors who influenced and inspired me to create — and so I did! I went on to receive a bachelor of fine arts degree and, to this day, I consider GRCC as the starting point of my artistic career.”

Colleen O’Rourke’s ArtPrize piece is a seed bead embroidery work titled “New Couch.” E. Lynne O’Rourke’s torn paper collage ArtPrize piece is called “Fresh From My Garden.” They are both showing at the Women’s City Club, 254 E. Fulton St.

Community members and ArtPrize volunteers are invited to the kickoff party, which runs 5:30-7:30 p.m. Aug. 14 in the Harris Building, 111 S. Division Ave. In addition to hearing from the two ArtPrize artists, attendees will get to sample Founders Brewing Co.’s Inspired Artist Black IPA.

Grand Rapids Community College, established in 1914, offers opportunities for more than 30,000 students annually in degree courses, certification and training programs, workshops and personal enrichment classes. GRCC holds classes on the downtown Grand Rapids campus as well as several locations throughout Kent and Ottawa counties.