It’s Mid-September in Saint Joseph, Michigan. You can feel the season changing and see the façade of The Box Factory for the Arts changing as well. Residents from the condo building next door stop by to admire the scene while out on daily walks. Cars and trucks pass by, honking their horns, some even rolling down their windows to yell words of encouragement. Meanwhile, Kimberly Wood, the artist responsible for all the change and excitement sits high above Broad Street on scaffolding with her bucket of supplies, painting a bird from her mural, “Birds of a Feather Flock Together”.
For a span of only three and a half weeks, Kimberly Wood (Saint Joseph), with the help of fellow artist, Shawn McCann (Minneapolis, MN), accomplished a colorful and playful mural on the West and South exterior walls of The Box Factory for the Arts. The Mural project funded by a grant from the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs as well as the National Endowment for the Arts was created as a way to encourage the community to take notice of this multi-use facility existing to nurture the arts. Kimberly’s design was chosen in July by the Berrien Artist Guild Board of Directors from three submitted proposals and concepts.
The mural design, “Birds of a Feather Flock Together” is meant to emulate the community and the arts as vibrant and playful. In a clever way, Kimberly specifically chose origami birds to mimic the history of the Williams Brothers Paper Box Manufacturing building. Given our four distinct seasons in Southwest Michigan, Kimberly knew that using bright colors would help the design stand out from the brick and surroundings. She wanted the simple design to be pleasing to all and hoped onlookers would find something to enjoy among the animals and greenery. Her goal was to encourage people to get to know The Box Factory for the Arts as more than an historic building.
Kimberly Wood grew up in Saint Joseph and from an early age was encouraged by family and friends to pursue art as a career. She remains grateful for her own arts education in how it shaped her interests and skills. Kimberly received her BFA and K-12 Art Education Training from Grand Valley State University and her Master’s Degree in Careers in Technical Education from Western Michigan. Together with her past experiences of being nurtured and supported to grow a career in art and her formal education she now works as a Commercial Design Instructor for Van Buren Technical Center. She is working to help her students explore the possibilities of a future in art through real life experience during High School.
When Kimberly isn’t teaching, she works as an artist and graphic designer under her business name, The Seventh Studio (www.theseventhstudio.com). She works as a freelance artist for non-profits and businesses. Her most recent design project aside from the Mural for the Box Factory is a Southwest Michigan Bike Map sponsored by the Southwest Michigan Planning Commission. The Berrien Artist Guild is also proud to include her as a long-time member.