Out of the Blue
Grand Rapids, MI - Artist Joan Marie Kowal created an entry for the Grand Rapids ArtPrize 2014 competition titled, "Out of the Blue." It is the nation's first physical memorial for victims of fatal dog attacks. Nearly 30 differently decorated crosses in multiple shades of blue each represent a person killed by a dog. She titled the entry, Out of the Blue, because that is how fatal dog attacks often occur. Kowal hopes to raise awareness about these victims and to prevent future tragedies.
"Putting faces on it is powerful. It brings up something that people don't always think about." - Christa Beukema, Out of the Blue observer, WZZM13.com
The row of crosses at Calder Plaza represent individuals killed by dogs so far in 2014. As one might expect, the majority of crosses represent people mauled to death by pit bulls. As of September 26, pit bulls are responsible for 72% of the total recorded fatal dog attacks this year. Last year, pit bulls were responsible for 78%. Two fatal dog mauling victims from Michigan, Craig Sytsma (Metamora Township) and Holden Garrison (Davisburg) are represented in the exhibit.
Viewers are encouraged to express their sympathy, respect and support for the victims and their families by leaving teddy bears, flowers or memorial decorations in the designated heart-shaped memorial space. "These people need love," said Kowal. "We cannot keep forgetting about these people." Kowal said that a pastor will be at the memorial on Saturday at 6 pm to lead a prayer for dog attack victims. On Sunday, a trio of misguided pit bull owners plan to protest the memorial.1
There are 1,537 works of art in this year's ArtPrize contest. The event runs from September 24 to October 12. For 19 days, three square miles of downtown Grand Rapids, Michigan is dedicated to the urban exhibit; the event is free and open to the public. Two grand prizes worth $400,000 and eight category awards worth $160,000 are awarded, half determined by public vote and the other half by a jury of art experts. On the opening day, ArtPrize viewers cast nearly 15,000 votes.
05/30/15: Out of The Blue Fatal Dog Attack Memorial Reemerges in Columbus, Ohio
09/13/14: Criminal Trial: Couple Charged with Second-Degree Murder After Cane Corsos...
08/02/14: 2014 Dog Bite Fatality: Two Cane Corsos Brutally Attack and Kill Jogger in Metamora...
06/11/14: 2014 Dog Bite Fatality: Family Dog Kills Baby in Michigan; Father Had to 'Pry Open'...
05/06/14: Video: Columnist Barbara Kay on How to Know You're a Pit Bull 'Fanatic'
10/24/13: Kaylie's Candlelight Vigil for Victims of Dangerous Dogs Approaches
Love the last line : The photograph of these women "gloating" with their pit bulls at the exhibit is extremely disturbing. Narcipitism, however, is a well-documented characteristic amongst pit bull owners.
So proud of you for doing this Joan. I really don't know what anyone would protest. Are these victims dead? Yes. Were the majority of them killed by pit bulls? Yes. Are we just going to sit in a corner with our fingers in our ears and pretend this didn't happen? Can our children at least have the respect that they deserve by at least acknowledging HOW they were killed?
I suggest any of the 2013/2014 victims of dog attacks and their families drive to MI this weekend or next and let them know that this art display is a great way to honor their dead.
This is awesome, wow, thanks for making this great art. Only locals or those that can show up to the site can vote, so if you are near, make the trip.
Those 3 women, with their game bred maulers, grinning while sitting on the memorial, make me sick. How do they not realize how foolish they look? JFC.
Thank you for this. We cannot allow the victims to be forgotten. Every way they can be given a voice is a step in the right direction.
And, of course, the pit idiots will not even allow us to mourn our dead in peace. Their shrill self-righteousness only draws attention to their lack of respect for victims that died a horrible and needless death. Their presence there is as much of an abomination as Darla Napora's husband burying her killer with her.
The Nutters at the protest on Sunday are so mentally deficient they do not even realize that the memorial represents actual 2014 fatal dog attack victims, ALL OF THEM, Jan 1 through mid September 2014. Seriously. http://woodtv.com/2014/09/28/pit-bull-owners-protest-at-dog-attack-artprize-entry/
I hope this exhibit goes as viral as the AIDS Quilt.
Hey Jaloney, better get down there and add another cross for them to protest. DBRF #30 while pit bull owners were protesting dead people.
Out of the Blue was supported by victims and concerned citizens and brought to Columbus Ohio in front of the statehouse on May 30 2015. Additional crosses were added to represent more than a dozen new pitbull fatalities. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZlSL8ZcrBCM