Lakers and tigers and bears, oh my!

Courtesy / Emily Horvat

Courtesy / Emily Horvat

Ben Glick

There’s no place like the Valley. That was the phrase associated with the furnishings for Homecoming last week, when many pieces of Grand Valley State University pride were put on display.

The GVSU branch of the National Art Education Association raised their Laker voices in the heart of campus; those who walked through the Kirkhof Center may have noticed something different, like the giant legs coming out of the 20/20 desk.

“We really didn’t know how it would turn out until it was assembled, but it all worked out,” said Michelle Haapala, the treasurer of the GVSU branch of the National Art Education Association.

After selecting this year’s theme, “Anything Oz,” Ellerie Ambrose, Laker Traditions Homecoming coordinator, contacted the NAEA for its main attraction: turning the 20/20 desk into the house that dropped onto the Wicked Witch of the West. The NAEA debuted its creation last Monday after spending some weeks preparing for its unveiling.

“She asked us if we were up for it, and we took it,” said Emily Horvat, president of GVSU’s NAEA branch.

It took two Saturdays for the organization and its ten members to help create the props needed for the scene. The sculptures made of cardboard and chicken wire and fastened with zip-ties took three of the members an additional five to six hours to secure.

Earlier in the year, the NAEA was responsible for organizing crafts for Family Weekend, but it has been absent from campus life in previous years.

“We’ve done some little things for the President’s Ball, but this is our first year doing anything campus-related,” Horvat said.

In addition to its new campus duties, the NAEA helps set up workshops in the greater Grand Rapids area for high-risk students to express themselves artistically. Every semester, the organization dedicates one day to helping high-risk children in Grand Rapids and surrounding areas.

“It’s good to get our name out, since we aren’t covered a lot,” Haapala said. “We’re trying to keep this organization alive, and (decorating the 20/20 desk) has been a sort of resurrection for us.”

And GVSU seems to have responded to the pieces with well-received approval and commendation.

“People have loudly praised our work,” Haapala said. “Mostly random people walking by, but it’s only been positive feedback. I’m really happy with how it turned out.”

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