ArtPrize inspires creation, and the folks at WZZM 13 felt they couldn’t properly showcase the imagination or share the stories that make up the event without embracing the creative spirit. So they teamed with the talented designers at Custer and the fresh eyes of students at Kendall College of Art and Design of Ferris State University to create a news desk that is as unique as the event itself.

“With so many people and opinions we very easily could have been stuck in the weeds coming up with the design intent alone,” said Jody Poole, Interior Project Designer at Custer and KCAD alumna. “We were all able to rally around our love of Grand Rapids, and that is the underlying message we wanted to come through.”

Months ago, teams from all three organizations began work on their common vision.

Celebrating the culture of craft in Grand Rapids, the desk highlights elements fundamental to the city’s identity. Representations of manufacturing, sustainability, art and design and natural beauty capture the vitality and pride tied to the reputation of Grand Rapids as a truly unique city.

Constructed out of reclaimed ash wood from within 25 miles of downtown Grand Rapids, the desk is detailed with donated items repurposed from Goodwill Industries and bottles representing various West Michigan craft breweries--arranged in a wave formation in homage to the Grand River.

"The collaboration between Custer, KCAD design students and WZZM 13 has resulted in a news desk unlike any other," said Janet Mason, WZZM 13 President and General Manager. "It is such a unique piece of artwork - it's a shame it's not an entry in ArtPrize."

“This project was an exciting and fun opportunity to guide the students through working with real clients, the design process, and having a design idea constructed. It was inspiring to see the student sketches and ideas brought to life,” said Tara McCrackin, Program Chair and Assistant Professor of Interior Design at KCAD. “This was a fun project that I was privileged to be a part of and am I thrilled with the end result.”

The desk is installed on the second floor of the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum and will serve as the WZZM 13 News Hub at ArtPrize for the newscasts throughout the event.

Visitors are encouraged to come out and visit with talent and staff and watch the news in action.

If you would like more information about this topic, please contact Jon Flis at 616-559-1480 or email at