Grand Rapids, Mich. -- What's usually used for sitting is making people stand up and take notice at ArtPrize this year. The piece is called "The Victory Art," an exhibit made from hundreds of wooden chairs, some stacked nearly two stories high.
Walking into the lobby of the Waters Center you're greeted by six towering soldiers. Each of them represents a form strength and guidance. The idea for the towering soldiers coming from the imagination of Stephen Farland, the Chairman.
28 years ago, a struggling Steve Farland was shown a warehouse full of chairs, but through the light he saw something different, an army of soldiers. While his vision faded away over time, Steve knew he would build it someday. He just didn't know when or why.
Nearly a decade later, violence struck his family. Steve's 96 year old Mother-in-law was being abused and his wife went to help her fight it. Out of his Mother-in-law's struggle, Steve remembered the chair soldiers and wanted to build an army to fight for those, like her, who could not fight for themselves.
Not being an artist, Steve put up an ad on Craigslist looking for help building his chair army. That's when he found Brian Sartor, an oil painter turned sculptor for the project.
Together the two put together "The Victory Art" featuring six soldiers: the Sentinel, the Soul Man, the Creator, Brotherly Love, the Guardian and Victory.
“I love the Guardian," explains Steve, "because she represents what my wife did. She had incredible courage and with one suitcase stayed 11 months in a neighbor's attic and fought for her mother’s life and freed her."