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March 26, 2004

Artist, Entrepreneur, Student

When Anne Prins was asked, as a burgeoning ninth-grade artist to paint a mural in her church's nursery she had no idea it would be the beginnings of a profitable business venture.

But now, just five years later, Prins, a Calvin College sophomore, has parlayed that first mural into a healthy source of income - healthy enough that last summer, for the first time in many years, she did not seek a summer job, but worked instead as an artist.

Even now the gregarious Prins is a little stunned that she can make decent money doing something she thoroughly enjoys.

"I had no idea that that mural could be the start of a career," she says with a smile. "But it turned out well, people noticed it and soon after I was getting asked to do murals in people's nurseries, bathrooms, all kinds of places."

It didn't take long after that for Prins' work to get noticed by builders. Now she not only does work for individuals she also does murals and more for homes not yet sold, including annual participation in the Parade of Homes. And she's doing more than just murals. Her artistic repertoire now includes media mirrors (mirrors surrounded by colorful, mixed-media frames), canvas floor cloths (beautifully painted and treated canvas that's coated with polyurethane), painted chairs and oil paintings.

Interestingly Prins doesn't plan to be an artist upon graduation. She's setting her sights on architecture.

"Art is fun, something I really enjoy," she says. "But I'm really interested in architecture."

Specifically Prins is studying as a pre-architecture student at Calvin with a healthy dose of urban planning courses. Someday she'd like to work as an architect who is sensitive to the ways in which buildings and urban sprawl can be balanced, an architect careful about designing buildings that function well, look good and make sense.

It is in becoming that kind of architect, says Prins, that her artistic background may be of some assistance. And, she adds, where her talents as a businessperson, born from the beginnings of a church nursery mural, may also bear fruit.

"I look at everything that I'm currently doing," she says, "as preparation for my work as an architect."

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Contact Phil de Haan
616-526-6475 (v)
616-526-7069 (f)