The Village of Spring Lake is looking to bring art to life in our community along our Lakeside Trail, a linear park that serves as a multi-user trail connecting Spring Lake with our neighboring communities. With the help of local property owners and artists we have already completed murals on the back of two Village businesses that face our linear park. Now we would like to commission a piece of sculpture.

The Art in the Park Project not only aims to beautify our public spaces, and introduce art to a community that as yet has very little, but now wants to do so to honor two of our Village residents who contributed so much to our community and our lives before passing on.

Project Description

The Village of Spring Lake is looking for creative, accomplished sculpture artists to put forth concepts for a piece that will honor the lives and contributions of Gary and Victoria Verplank. A history of the couple is provided here in this Call for Artist and more information can be found online and in the community. Each entry should reflect the artist’s representation of what the couple gave to our community in conceptual form, along with an anticipated size, material, required care and anticipated cost. Artists may also enter proposals either on their own or as a group. It is highly recommended that artists visit the intended locations before submitting their design proposals (see Artwork Location Information, below) and do their own research on Gary and Victoria Verplank.

Project Time Line

1. Deadline to Submit Application: Sunday, October 27, 2019 at 11:59 pm
2. Notifications sent to Artists: Monday, November 11, 2019
3. Anticipated Execution of Minor Design Review: Friday, November 15, 2019
4. Time Line for Selected Artist(s) to Start and Execute Project: Monday, November
11, 2019 with delivery scheduled for June, 2020.
5. Special events will be hosted to introduce the winning artist to the community.

The entries will be accepted Aug. 26th through Oct. 27th and one will be chosen with the help of the Art in the Park Curating Committee, Community Engagement, and the Verplank family and be announced on Friday, Nov. 4th. The piece will then be commissioned, created and delivered by Summer, 2020.


Each concept should be delivered to us fully fleshed out with size specs, and materials, including a cost. Cost shall be commensurate with sculpture’s materials, size, and artist’s experience, desirability, and recognition in the field.

A History of Gary & Victoria Verplank

Gary and Victoria Verplank were proud to be fourth generation residents of the Tri-Cities area, both born and raised in Grand Haven. They went on to work and live in California for a few years before returning home in 1968 and eloping to San Juan, Puerto Rico on December 29, 1970. From then on, they each worked and served the Tri-Cities area and became permanent residents and supporters of the Village of Spring Lake.

Victoria was an artist with tremendous talent for interior design, drawing and painting. She graduated from Kendall College of Art and Design in Grand Rapids and in 1968 came back to teach interior design and art for her Alma Mater. In 1968, Gary joined his brother and father in the family business, Verplank Dock Company, which was founded in 1908. Over the next 50 years, Gary, along with his brother Midge and several partners, founded and acquired several West Michigan Businesses. The list includes Shape Corp., Finish Corp., Track Corp., BR Metals, Pliant Plastics, BioSolutions, NetShape, and Magnode. He ran his companies on his belief that business exists for the betterment of the community.
The Verplanks raised their family on the shores of Spring Lake. Family and community were at the top of their lives. What they loved, they served. Gary loved the water and sailed competitively across the U.S. for 65 years. He also served the Spring Lake Yacht Club from 1971-1979 as Commodore in 1976. Together, their tremendous passion for the Village of Spring Lake resulted in decades of community service and involvement in many charitable, volunteer, and philanthropic organizations. Vicki’s love of art lead her to serve on the Board of Directors at the Muskegon Museum of Art and as their President in her final year. At home, she proudly served on the Spring Lake Village Council for 19 years, five of those as Village Council President.

Together they lead the efforts on creating and establishing the much-loved Village tree canopy. By partnering with the North Bank Communities Fund and Spring Lake Rotary, Gary and Vicki Verplank founded the Spring Lake Tree Nursery that continues to support the Village of Spring Lake designation of Tree City, U.S.A. even today. The Verplanks were the lead contributors in the fundraising efforts for our Central Park, Mill Point Park, and Grand River Greenway. Both had a passion for the preservation of the historic Village of Spring Lake. While Vicki was on Spring Lake Council, they supported moving and restoring the historic Barber School, now used as a meeting place for the Village Council and multiple other boards and community uses. Supporting Spring Lake, Lake Board and other water initiatives they fiercely advocated to keep the resource of Spring Lake healthy and beautiful for all.

The lists of service, awards and accolades goes on and on. In the end, Gary and Vicki Verplank will be remembered for the love that they shared for Spring Lake and for never missing an opportunity to give back to the community, our Village, that they loved.

Artwork Location Information

The location of the sculpture will be determined by size. If a smaller-sized piece is chosen it will live in the area around Whistle Stop Park, most likely on the lawn that is adjacent to the west side of Division St. and the multi-user trail.

If the location is larger in size, we would expect to place it on the lawn just south of the trail and north of Central Park. (See the photos below.)

If neither location suits a chosen concept, we’ll be happy to find another spot so artists are encouraged to visit our trail and see if something moves them.

Application Requirements

All artists must fill out the online application form and submit it via email before the deadline on Sunday, October 27, 2019 to be considered. Email completed application to:


• Art in the Park is open to artists and/or artist teams over 18 years of age.
• Concepts should be one-of-a-kind originals.
• Any variety of materials may be incorporated, but the project in its entirety must require minimal to no maintenance.
• Sculptures must be able to withstand the intense sun, snow, wind and temperature extremes and weather fluctuations common in Michigan.


For questions about the Art in the Park project and sculpture application process please contact Angela Stanford-Butler, Village of Spring Lake DDA Director:

How to Apply

Email your application for your sculpture design for consideration. Deadline to apply is Oct. 27, 2019, at 11:59 pm. Notifications will be sent out: Nov. 11, 2019.
Subject: Sculpture Project Application: Art in the Park
Download and complete the application (PDF) or include the following information in the email:

Artist Information
• Lead Artist Name
• Address
• Phone
• Email
• If applying as a team, list the names of all the participating artists
• Artist’s Website, Facebook and/or Instagram link, if any.

Sculpture Information
• Title of Sculpture
• Sculpture Concept Description (Also please include size, materials, and cost)
• Location (will be determined by the size of sculpture)
Smaller Sculpture: East of Whistle Stop Park along the trail
Larger Sculpture: North of Central Park along the trail

• Statement of Interest: Please state why you are interested in this project and how your experience and approach would benefit this project. If applying as a team, please describe the collaborative experience and approach.

In addition to the above information, please attach the following to the email (preferably in a ZIP file):
• Sculpture Visual Design Proposal
• Resume
• Photo examples of prior sculpture designs, if any.

By emailing us this information, the applicant certifies that the information contained in this application, including all supporting documents and attachments, is true and correct to the best of their knowledge. Any fraudulent statement made in the application will be grounds for denying a commission. The Village of Spring Lake reserved the right to reproduce images of the selected artist’s proposal for its own print, digital, promotional and marketing needs

Thank you for your interest in the Art in the Park Project!