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Sept 17, 2002

Off to Paris

A first-year Calvin College student will miss a week's worth of classes next week for a trip to Paris. But he's going with the blessing of school officials.

James Keating of Big Rapids will leave for Paris on September 21 for the 28th biannual FIDEM Congress and Exhbition, an international art show featuring medallic art (FIDEM stands for La Fédération Internationale de la Médaille).

Keating is one of 60 U.S. artists whose work was selected for the show (from some 150 that were submitted). His piece, done during his senior year at Big Rapids High School (for a class taught by James Malone-Beach), will be the only one from a U.S. high school student. The work was done in memory of his brother who died in January 2001 from cancer.

It's cast in bronze and on the outside is simply a rough-surfaced ball with numerous sharp and imposing spikes rising from the exterior. The sphere is hinged and when opened it reveals on one side a picture of Keating's late brother Robert behind a metal grille, while the other side contains the empty wrapper to a York peppermint patty.

"The medal started out as a sun," says Keating, who hopes to perhaps one day be an art teacher. "I had had a really good summer and I wanted to depict that. But as I got going on it the project changed, the inside and the outside. And it became about me and my brother. My brother is still very close to me. But I hold his memory pretty deep inside of me."

And the peppermint patty wrapper?

"It's my favorite candy," says Keating. "And it's how sweet Robert was."

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Contact Phil de Haan
616-957-6475 (v)
616-957-7069 (f)