Cassopolis graduate wins President’s Award

Published 1:44 pm Friday, April 25, 2014

Ben Frank poses with his winning ceramic Godzilla statue and Southwestern Michigan College President David Mathews. (Submitted photo)

Ben Frank poses with his winning ceramic Godzilla statue and Southwestern Michigan College President David Mathews. (Submitted photo)

Southwestern Michigan College President Dr. David M. Mathews bestowed the President’s Award on Ben Frank’s two-foot ceramic Godzilla April 17 at the semi-annual student art exhibit reception in the Art Gallery of the Dale A. Lyons Building on the Dowagiac campus.

President’s Award winners are exhibited in the Foundation Room adjacent to the college bookstore.

“I’m sure the same things are running through your minds as ran through mine,” Mathews said. “Who would create something as exquisitely detailed as that and put it in a kiln and not expect it to explode? And how in the world did you get the skin texture? You can spend hours looking at it and still see more details and intentional components than I could ever imagine.”

“I put on a special glaze which naturally cracks when it fires, which gives it texture,” Frank, of Cassopolis, said. “I’ve always been a fan of Godzilla movies, and now they’re doing a new one that’s coming out.”

After graduation May 3, Frank is considering continuing his studies at Kendall College of Art and Design in Grand Rapids.

A prior interest in animation might come back into play with the idea of landing a studio position creating three-dimensional concepts.

“That would be really cool to do,” he said.

Frank is not yet ready to sell his mini-monster at the student art sale outside the bookstore April 30-May 1 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., but if he were it could command $1,000 based on 35 to 40 hours of work in a two-week span and $120 in supplies.

Mathews also presented overall Awards of Merit and ceramics instructor Sherrie Styx recognized exceptional ceramics work, while Professor Emeritus Terry Pfliger presented special merit awards to Induck Lee and Kelly Blumka.

A $300 scholarship was awarded to Drawing I student Maria Thomas.

Dowagiac businesswoman Kris Lamphere, chair of next month’s Dogwood Fine Arts Festival Up Front Art Walk and February’s Ice Time sculpture festival, served as juror for the exhibit.


2D Design: David Duthinh

Drawing I: Heather Matthews

Drawing II: Anne Seem, Madeline Quinones

Watercolor: Induck Lee, Amber Nicole, Erica Villanueva

Ceramics I: Vance Bruder, Rachel Mroz

Ceramics II: Conor Speckine

Ceramics IV: Benjamin Frank

Directed Study: Fawn Bussler, Rosaleen Sullivan, Jessika Clement

Introduction to Digital Art and Design: Alexis Teichman, Sami Walton

Graphic Design II: Jessica Dudek

Typography in Design: Oscar Garcia, Pamela Alphenaar

Art Photography: Austin Sullivan

Digital Photography: Tim Tinker

Digital Publishing: Karen Munoz-Perez

Animation: Holly Cowan

Ceramics Student Choice Award: Benjamin Frank

Winners were also announced from more than 80 entries in the Facebook snow photography contest: first, Julia Speicher; second, Faith Styx; and third, Fawn Bussler.