Abraham Lincoln’s birthday is Feb. 12. While you get your log cabin cake ready, keep in mind there’s a larger-than-life Lincoln on display. A. Lincoln is a portrait made entirely out of pennies. It’s in the Lincoln Room, found at 32 W. Michigan Ave.
By the numbers
It took 24,500 pennies to create the portrait, which is 12 feet high and eight feet wide. Abraham Lincoln was 6’4”, so it’s almost as tall as one Lincoln standing on the shoulders of another Lincoln.
The public loved A. Lincoln at ArtPrize 9 – it was the grand prize winner for public vote.
ArtPrize was an annual art competition that took place all over Grand Rapids. While there was a juried portion with experts, the big prize was winning the hearts of visitors. More than half a million people from 47 different countries came to see ArtPrize 9, which was in 2017.
ArtPrize has been scaled down since then and is now a biennial project.
Artist Richard Schlatter originally considered transporting A. Lincoln from Battle Creek to Grand Rapids in a friend’s trailer. Instead, he hired window-pane movers and it went to ArtPrize without much fanfare.
That changed after winning the big prize. When A. Lincoln finally returned home, a squad of police cars met the movers as they drove into Battle Creek and gave the art piece an escort with flashing lights.
Open to the community
Now A. Lincoln is on display in the Hampton Building, at 32 W. Michigan Ave. The Lincoln Room is open during work hours and Saturday morning.
With a variety of seating and big windows, it’s a pleasant place to chill. While the room can be rented for special events, it’s mostly a gathering spot for people who want to meet or get some work done. There’s a café down the hall that provides a WiFi password.
The Schlatter Design Scholarship
Schlatter has printed cards with A. Lincoln on the cover and a Lincoln quote on the inside. They’re available for purchase at the Battle Creek Welcome Center and Happy House Gift Shop.
Money from the cards goes toward the Schlatter Design Scholarship. It supports high school students going on to study graphic arts in college. For more information, go to www.bccfoundation.org/scholarships.