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Gary Griffin and Cranbrook Students Exhibit Metal Sculptures
Critical Mass: Metalsmithing at Cranbrook under Gary Griffin.

BLOOMFIELD HILLS.- The Cranbrook Art Museum presents the exhibit Critical Mass: Metalsmithing at Cranbrook under Gary Griffin through October 15, 2006. After twenty-two years as Artist-in-Residence and Head of the Department of Metalsmithing at Cranbrook Academy of Art, Gary Griffin is moving his studio practice to New Mexico. Critical Mass celebrates Griffin's remarkable tenure at Cranbrook through an exhibition of work by a broad cross-section of the 121 Academy alumni that received an MFA in Metalsmithing from 1985 through 2005.

"Cranbrook has been a marvelous environment," says Griffin, who will relocate with his wife Pat to their ranch and studio in northern New Mexico, where he will continue his metalsmithing career and focus his energies on new works. "We are grateful for all Cranbrook has afforded us, for the influence exerted upon our understanding of art. We raised our two children on its grounds and although we think highly of the Detroit area, the West and the open country exert a magnetic attraction."

During his Cranbrook tenure, Griffin – considered one of the nation's foremost metalsmiths – maintained an active practice focusing on utilitarian works for residences and institutions, resulting in regular commissioned work, from tables, furniture and lighting to gates, fences and railings. Interest in his work has resulted in pieces being placed throughout the country including the award-winning vehicular and pedestrian entry gates to the Academy of Art at Lone Pine Road and Academy Way – something Griffin credits as one of his greatest achievements at Cranbrook.

"I have the utmost respect for Gary Griffin," says Gerhardt Knodel, director of Cranbrook Academy of Art. "His creative acumen and leadership in higher education are legendary. Thanks to his talent, the Academy is recognized as one of the top graduate art programs in the United States. I wish Gary well in his future pursuits, and thank him for his years of service to the Academy."

Griffin received his Masters of Fine Arts degree from Tyler School of Art at Temple University in 1974. He has received numerous awards and fellowships including two National Endowment of Arts awards in 1976 and 1977. In 2005, he was elected to the American Craft Council College of Fellows for his contributions and achievements in the field of Metalsmithing.

In addition to "Critical Mass," Griffin's years of service to Cranbrook are being honored with the establishment of the Gary S. and Patricia J. Griffin Scholarship Fund, which will provide scholarship aid to one metalsmithing student each year. Those interested in contributing a gift towards the scholarship can do so by calling 248.645.3214.

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