GRAND: The Grand River Portrait

"The work is iconic...An extensive portrait of the Grand River at night, the sculpture stretches across three tiers. Made of a dark carved acrylic, it has a sense of mystery and majesty that suggests the flowing tribulation of the river against the immensity of the night sky."

-- Joseph Becherer
Chief Curator, Frederik Meijer Gardens (The Grand Rapids Press)


GRAND is a portrait of the Grand River after midnight. Carved from dark acrylic block, it is 22' long and 4' wide.

To create GRAND, Collier developed a software model of wind and current in the Grand Rapids area and also incorporated patterns from a wide range of sound waves she gathered in the human and natural environment in the region.

Collier stated "Like water waves, sound exists for a moment and then passes away. It is intriguing to me to create a method to make sound into a solid form and carve its rhythmic patterns into a sculpture of waves on the water."

Collier documented the technology she developed to create GRAND and her sound wave collection with a series of videos.

Collecting sounds

Tech Talks

GRAND was on view at the Grand Rapids Art Museum as part of Reimagining the Landscape and the Future of Nature, September 12 - October 6, 2013

Video: The Making of GRAND

Grand installed at Grand Rapids Art Museum
GRAND as installed in the Grand Rapids Art Museum.
Lower Section of Grand
GRAND is carved from acrylic. Its material is totally transparent allowing the viewer to see deeply into the work rather than through it. The very dark blue gathers light and reflects color around it in the manner of a river at night.
Grand Three Quarter view
The step down across GRAND's three pedestals represents the falling water as the river moves down along its course. It also shows the progress of time: a decent into sleep, a time of dreaming and finally renewal with the coming of morning.
Grand: Between bases
The gaps in between the levels represent the river's missing rapids. Like many industrial era, mid continent rivers the Grand river was used to generate mechanical movement. A series of dams interrupt the river's flow and the river's water is constantly reasserting its natural turbulence.
Grand: Between second and third section
The transition from the second section to the third and final section.