Local teenager reveals himself and donates Lego model to Crooked Tree Arts Center
PETOSKEY – The main gallery space at the Crooked Tree Arts Center sounded “oohs” and “ahhs” on Wednesday as its latest permanent exhibit was unveiled.
The exhibit – an exact, scale-scale Lego model of the arts center – is a project entirely designed and built by 16-year-old Roldan Grace from more than 6,600 individual pieces.
Grace originally came up with the idea of building the arts center after doing several large-scale Lego builds in the past and knowing – with all of the complexities of building – that would bring a new challenge. He was also a longtime student at the arts center having been enrolled in various art and music courses.
“It’s great to have done it and to have this satisfaction after so much waiting, planning, designing and building, but I’m happy it’s been done and people can enjoy it for years to come.” , did he declare.
Grace has spent much of the last year working on this project, doing everything from taking pictures of the arts center to helping the director of arts center facilities to taking photos of the roof and using his Lego “Brick Lick” design programming to design the Lego version of the building brick by brick.
Over 200 hours were spent designing the digital rendering of the arts center and, according to Grace, another week was spent in the actual construction process before it was finished.
Grace was able to make the project a reality thanks to a number of donors who contributed to her crowdfunding campaign through GoFundMe. Over $ 2,000 was raised to help him buy all the Lego bricks, the display case and some of the electrical wires and lights he installed to light the model’s (Lego) stained glass window.
“It’s great to have all this support for what I do and my business,” he said. “It gives you that recognition and knowing that if I share my ideas with other people, they can appreciate and support it just as much as I do.”
Grace presented the finished model to the arts center and a group of guests and patrons on Wednesday, September 29 in the building’s main gallery where it will remain until the end of the year.
At the unveiling, Arts Center President Megan Dewindt not only thanked Grace for the donation, but congratulated her on her attention to detail and her accomplishments.
“When you see that you will see that he has got all the details for this historic monument and certainly what I would consider the cornerstone of our community,” she said. “I am very honored to thank him and present this project. We loved watching his artistic process. Everything exceeded our wildest expectations.”
The Lego Arts Center will be on display indefinitely at the Arts Center and its Ground Floor and Upper Gallery until the end of the year. It will then be moved to the lower levels of the art center where more children and students who come for classes can see it.
“It was a pleasure to have Roldan as a student here and we are honored to have this so that people can enjoy it for so many years to come,” said Dewindt.