Ford Sculpture in Grand Rapids

Ford Sculpture being unloaded in Grand Rapids.

Ford sculpture in  Grand Rapids, top 10 to be announced

by Peter Jakey – Managing Editor

Gerald Ford has arrived in Grand Rapids (GR). The metal sculpture created by Moran Iron Works (MIW) founder Tom Moran was transported from Onaway to Grand Rapids for the ArtPrize exhibition/competition, Sept. 16. The international art exhibition opened three days later.

Those who didn’t know Gerald was in GR, are learning about it now, or saw it on the front page of the Thursday edition of the Detroit Free Press.  

Now, it only will be a matter days before 1,531 entries and displays will be trimmed to a top 10. 

“It’s almost overwhelming, how many pieces there are to look at,” said Marilyn Kapp, MIW public relations spokesperson. 

ArtPrize is the world’s largest art competition. The top prize is determined solely by public vote.

There are almost too many to see, but it would be very difficult to overlook the 8,000-pound piece made of ¼ plate steel.

“The feedback has been great,” said Kapp. She will be traveling to Grand Rapids this week with Tom and his dad Harry and stepmother Marian Moran.

President Gerald R. Ford spent much of his childhood in Grand Rapids where one of his two Michigan libraries is located. The MIW Ford bust is located in front of B.O.B., an acronym for “Big Old Building.”

B.O.B. wanted to have the piece there before it was even completed. Moran started the Ford sculpture before Christmas 2011.

Voting is taking place for the Public Art Display category and the top 10 will be announced Sunday at 1 p.m.

It could be a very significant month for Moran. Not only is the northern Michigan entrepreneur involved in the prestigious art competition, he’s a husband-to-be.

Moran surprised Kapp, his girlfriend of two years, with a wedding proposal earlier this month.

Just like his many artistic creations, he did it in grand style — on the Great Wall of China. “That was a total shock and surprise,” said Kapp. “We hiked the Great Wall for four days, and when I say hike, I mean hiked. Not the pretty steps you see in pictures. Most of the wall is in ruins, actually. We hiked through jungle and areas where the steps were falling apart.”

She said it was on the last day before they started hiking down. “He asked me on the Great Wall. How cool is that?” See photo on page 2.

Immediately upon arriving back in the states, Gerald needed to be moved, so the newly-engaged couple drove down early on the morning of Sept. 16, at a speed of 60 miles per hour. It took about five hours. Kapp said many people would pass them, especially on I-75, and then brake to slow down to get another view, or take photos as they motored south.

Ford was first presented to the public during the Onaway Fourth of July parade. The contest award winner will be announced Oct. 7.

For more information and video of the load in visit: