Nessie Gets Permanent Home at John Ball Park Pond
Grand Rapids–“Nessie on the Grand,” one of the more intriguing entries in last year’s ArtPrize competition, will soon be entertaining visitors at her new home in the pond in front of John Ball Park Zoo. Nessie’s home features a walk-out viewing deck and an information kiosk.
The 18-foot high, 100-foot long creature with sparkling LED eyes and body was originally located in the Grand River near the Blue Bridge by the GVSU Eberhard Building. Nessie got her feet wet at the Zoo site following her top ten showing in ArtPrize last fall but her delicate structural foam skin was threatened by the elements. She was recently dry-docked for some minor repairs and a makeover. A protective polyurea coating was added and a fresh look provided by local painter Michael Knoll.
Nessie’s extended lease on life comes courtesy of the Zoo board and staff and a group of donors that include the BAI (Bea Aldrink Idema) Family Foundation, Fifth Third Private Banking, and Mirador Family Wealth Advisors.
Nessie is the production of “The Nessie Project,” a collaborative idea six years in the making shared by local artists and designers Richard App, Thomas Birks, Joachim Jensen, and David Valdiserri. The original plan was to build and place a much smaller version in Reeds Lake under cover of night. The project didn’t gain traction, however, until ArtPrize provided inspiration.
Nessie was conceived via 3-D computer design. The project build was completed over a 17-day stretch. Her launch required approval from the city, county, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ).