Stolen art represents artist’s battle with cancer

Jon Krauss, Go Green
Part of ArtPrize Nine entry "Go Green" by Jon and Don Krauss. (Oct. 9, 2017)


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — It was a disappointing end to ArtPrize Nine for one local artist who discovered a part of his entry that held special personal significance was stolen.

Decked out in Spartan green and white and Michigan maize and blue, each football player figurine in the entry entitled Go Green stands between 18 and 24 inches tall and weighs 10 to 15 pounds. Jon Krauss painted the figurines that his brother, Don Krauss, made from used car parts.

“It’s been a full year putting the whole thing together,” Jon Krauss, of Comstock Park, said of the work.

It wasn’t easy. He did his part while battling cancer.

“Different treatments, some of them harder than others. I could go down to work on these guys and take my mind off the situation and timing I was in,” Krauss said.

A particular figurine held a special place in his heart.

“The player that was stolen had my name on it, his right hand clenched like a fist. It symbolized my battle with cancer, the fighting I went through,” he said.

On the last day of the world’s largest art competition, as Krauss started to gather up the players, the field and the score board from where it was displayed at Peppino’s Pizzeria downtown, he noticed some of it was missing — including his favorite player.

“That player was going to stay with me,” he said. “That was my symbol and my personal ArtPrize.”

Krauss said he just wants the special piece back. He said he won’t ask any questions if it is returned.

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