The lush Oval Lawn on the gorgeous campus at Krasl Art Center in St. Joseph overlooks Lake Boulevard, and features a stunning custom wrap-around bench inspired by the artistry of Olga Krasl. The bench was designed to hug the green space, offer built-in seating and views of our indescribable Southwest Michigan sunsets, while highlighting Olga’s striking color palettes through illuminated glass panels.
The entrance to the Oval Lawn is hard to miss; on either side of the concrete path sits the sculpture ‘Rising Crossing Tides’, work of artist Richard Hunt, and designed specifically “to reflect the powerful wind and waves we experience of the eastern shoreline of Lake Michigan”.
This monumental steel sculpture serves as a literal doorway to the campus, as well as a metaphorical one. It is inspirational, stunning, and a bit interactive, as guests can walk under, around, or sit on the piece itself. ‘Rising Crossing Tides’ is one of Hunt’s 130 public artworks across the nation, and Benton Harbor has been honored to have housed his satellite studio for more than 25 years.
Another intimate outdoor space on campus is the East Garden. It houses interactive contemporary art installations, and offers a fresh artistic vision with the changing of the seasons, featured artists, and its dedication to the late Maria G. “Lupe” Hopp. This summer, the East Garden will feature an outdoor art classroom by local artist Thomas Frier called the ‘Art Dome’.
“Construction of the campus redesign was complete in 2018, though the pandemic did halt our plans to welcome more guests to the grounds. We are really looking forward to hosting more events on the grounds as the pandemic subsides,” says new KAC Director of Events Jamie Balkin.
This outdoor event venue is now available to rent, and along with the East Garden and Oval Lawn, it is equipped with shaded seating in the Plaza, and the Upper Patio gas fire feature. Krasl has partnered with 1928 Planning Co. to plan and present your perfect event, and the 150 guest capacity is perfect for weddings, fundraisers, graduation parties, and more. Indoors, the First Floor and the Library are available spaces in which you can host your fantastic celebration.
Community Events are one of the highlights of the campus, and this year promises many.
“We are working with Notre Dame to host a Shakespeare performance on the Oval Lawn on July 29th,” Jamie says. The Summer Art Market on the Green will also be held on the Oval Lawn, and is free to the public. The market vendors are made up of ten regional artists and different artists are featured each month. Market dates for 2022 are June 4th, July 16th, August 20th, and September 3rd.
Krasl Art Center and their mission, “to inspire meaningful change and strengthen the community through the visual arts,” continues to breathe life into our area through Youth Classes, Youth Camps, Adult Classes, Workshops, and tours of the current exhibitions. You can visit them at 707 Lake Boulevard in St. joseph, or at krasl.org to learn about their amenities, events, and space rental.
By Jocelyne Tuszynski, MOTM Contributor