Ken Newman Sculptures 2017

Ken Newman

ArtPrize is a 19 day marathon, in which over 400,000 public votes are cast one artist is awarded $200,000.  The curators award another $200,000 to an artist and over $100,000  to the top four individual category awards are awarded. 

The Last Whistle reached the final 25 in sculpture category and was in the top 100 of 1453 artworks. What an experience!For results visit

On Sunday (the final day) a Foundation in Saginaw MI purchased The Last Whistle #1/5 at ArtPrize.  They visited with us twice and were sure it was the perfect sculpture for Saginaw  a factory town with foundries and skilled blue collar workers. They lost over 11,000 jobs during the collapse of the automotive industry and from technology changes (iron/steel products to aluminum parts).  

There is revitalization going on in Saginaw, but it is a slow process.  The Foundation is creating a committee for design and siting the sculpture in the community, we spent the day touring the town and viewing potential sites for the sculpture.. In the interim, the sculpture was placed on Tuesday at the foyer of The Saginaw Art Museum.

At ArtPrize, the sculpture was approached with reverence and many special moments were shared by the Grand Rapids community and with other visitors to our outdoor venue at Fifth Third Bank/Warner Norcross & Judd Plaza.  The first seven days, we encouraged visitors to share their blue collar stories. Some wrote their thoughts down, other chose to share their stories verbally.  There were so many we plan to recount them in a book.  Men walked up Ken and just shook his hand and thanked him for creating the sculpture, then walked away with tears in their eyes. There were so many emotional conversations, we feel overwhelmed and blessed to share the sculpture with so many people at ArtPrize.  Many had no intention of voting, but changed their mind after seeing the sculpture.

On the steel base, we wrote Shared memories keep history and cultures alive and then stenciled the names of the blue collar jobs which were shared on the base.   It was so rewarding to see grandparents sharing stories of their parents and grandparents who worked in the trades and explained the sacrifices they made for their families.  

Whitney Peckman wrote this about the sculpture:

So glad it's staying in MI - it is such a sensitive depiction of so much - commitment, hard work, fatigue, responsibility, and the honor of providing for your family - all the "old" ethics of our country, so difficult to find evidence of in so much of the country now.

Ken Newman is a nationally recognized sculptor and lives in Idaho. His ArtPrize entry The Last Whistle, a larger than life bronze figurative sculpture, will compete against 1554 artists representing 44 countries and 40 US states submitting 1453 unique entries. There are four artwork categories; 2-D, 3-D, Installation and Time-Based displayed across the three-square mile ArtPrize District in 172 venues.

The Last Whistle symbolizes a historical perspective of generations of men who were instrumental in building wealth and greatness in America. Celebrating the importance of all people; from coal mines and steel mills to Michigan's unparalleled industrial manufacturing which built the American society.

The sculpture represents the iconic Blue Collar laborer of small and large communities across America. Closer to home it reflects the narrowing of the logging industry, as the last whistle blared in Fort Bragg, a place where Ken worked with men of this generation.

The larger than life bronze sculpture was chosen by the Fifth Third Bank/Warner, Norcross and Judd LLP, and will be located near the corner of Monroe and Lyon in downtown Grand Rapids.

The sculpture is currently being cast at a full-service fine art foundry and is undergoing the complicated and labor intensive molding and lost wax casting process to bronze.

Ken will escort the 800+lb. bronze to Michigan in September and is currently raising funds to transport, install, promote and attend the competition at . The effort is sponsored by ArtPrize, CrowdRise and the Michigan Lottery.