From the Grand Rapids Magazine August 2018 issue. Available on newsstands now or via subscription.
For WMCAT’s Dennis Grantz, teaching the arts is a labor of love.
Dennis Grantz, a teaching artist for the Intro to Photography and Advanced Photography studios at the West Michigan Center for Arts + Technology, has long immersed himself in the arts.
Grantz first came to WMCAT when it opened in 2005 to launch the organization’s photography program, then went on to serve as the first Teen Arts — then Youth Arts — program director before returning to the classroom. Prior to joining WMCAT, Grantz, who has a bachelor’s degree in painting and drawing and a master’s degree in photography from Central Michigan University, spent several years teaching art and photography at the middle school, high school and college levels.
Grantz, a Detroit area native, was named Teacher of the Year in 1996 at the Michigan Youth Arts Festival. He also has won several awards for his hand-colored photographs and digital images.
Best Part Of Your Job?
Photo walkabouts with students has to be one of the best parts of my job (among many!). Sharing with students who are engaged, having fun and expressing themselves creatively is very fulfilling.
What’s Something You’ve Always Wanted To Try?
Taking a truly great sports car, like say a McLaren F1 or a Shelby Cobra, through a closed road course would be fun.
Who Inspires You?
Mahatma Gandhi and the Dalai Lama immediately come to mind. In terms of a constant influence day to day, though, I’d have to say my wife Jody has been a great inspiration to me with her steady heart and commitment.
Without question, our place on Misery Bay in the U.P. is my favorite place to get away. I find great satisfaction in creating beauty in my environment. A 113-year-old, hand-hewn log schoolhouse in an idyllic wild setting near Lake Superior, it has always been for me a respite with immense restorative power.
If You Could Meet Any Fictional Character, Who Would It Be?
Samuel Hamilton in John Steinbeck’s “East of Eden” is a favorite character of mine. I’d love to sit down and have a beer with Brown Dog, a character who appears in several of Jim Harrison’s novels. Campfire coffee with Gandalf would be terrific!
*Photo by Michael Buck