About the Artist
Following a 1-credit experiential learning course at Muskegon Community College, titled "The Art of the Civil War," in which students were taken on a extended weekend-long bus trip to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania; twenty-year-old Ari Norris wrote a life-changing letter to nationally recognized sculptor Gary Casteel.
Being the last living artist to produce a monument on the expansive Gettysburg National Military Park, Casteel served as one of the course's several in-person "experiences." The group of students joined Gary for a on-site presentation at his sculpture of General James Longstreet, followed by a studio visit to view works in progress.
In the weeks following the meeting, Norris began drafting a request to Gary - to become the seventy-year-old artist's first-ever apprentice. Upon receiving Norris' letter, the pair had a life-changing phone call.
Norris would go on to join Casteel in Pennsylvania for two subsequent summer-sessions, by the end of which saw the groundwork being laid for Norris' first bronze commission, the Doris Rucks Memorial Sculpture at Muskegon Community College.
Upcoming - Band Together - double life-size drum major, at Rowan Park. Muskegon Heights, MI
Paul Anderson & Lennis Moore Memorial Busts, Midwest Old Settlers & Threshers Association. Mt. Pleasant, IA
Denny Craycraft Memorial Sculpture, Vietnam Era U.S. Soldier, and K-9 War Dog, at Denny Craycraft Veterans Freedom Park. Belding, MI
Clarence Zylman, Muskegon's Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy Memorial Sculpture, at LST 393 Veterans Museum. Muskegon, MI
Doris Rucks Memorial Sculpture, at Muskegon Community College. Muskegon, MI
R. David Zerhusen Bas-Relief, Catholic Order of Foresters National Headquarters. Naperville, IL
Second summer-long apprenticeship with sculptor Gary Casteel. Gettysburg, PA
First summer-long apprenticeship with sculptor Gary Casteel. Gettysburg, PA
Belt, Nate. "Statue to Feature Uniform of the First Black Drum Major at Muskegon Heights High School." wzzm13.com.
Jaworowski, Matt. "New Sculpture to Highlight Muskegon Heights' Marching Band Tradition." woodtv.com. Web. Nov 28, 2022.
Jewell-Hammie, Skyla. "New Public Art Installation to Honor Muskegon Heights Marching Band's Legacy."
O'Riley, Andy. Muskegon Channel. Rowan Park Public Art - A High Step in the Right Direction - Band Together.
muskegonchannel.com. Web. Dec 19, 2022.
Roberts, Andy. White Lake Beacon. "New "Band Together" statue planned in Muskegon Heights."
shorelinemedia.net. Web. Nov 18, 2022.
Martin, Michael. Fox17. “Belding Veterans Park Unveils Several New Statues, Including of Founder.”
Sasiela, Evan. Ionia Sentinel-Standard. "Denny Craycraft Veterans Freedom Park in Belding Adds New
Monuments." Web. September 11, 2020.
Center, Patrick. "Muskegon's Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy Forever Celebrated with Statue."
WGVU Public Media. Grand Valley State University. wgvunews.org. Web. Nov. 12, 2018.
Koryzno, Peter. “Dr. Rucks Sculpture Created by MCC Alumnus Ari Norris.” Muskegon Community College.
muskegoncc.edu. Web. September 27, 2018.
McQuire, Justine. “Muskegon’s Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy Honored with Statue.” MLive. mlive.com.
McQuire, Justine. "Muskegon Community College Honors Late Human Rights Champion." MLive.
mlive.com. Web. September 27, 2018
O'Riley, Andy. “Boogie Woogie Bugler Memorial Statue Unveiling.” Muskegon Channel.
muskegonchannel.com. Web. Nov. 10, 2018
O'Riley, Andy. "Local Sculptor Ari Norris to Present the Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy November 10th at the
LST 393." Muskegon Channel. muskegonchannel.com. Web. Sept. 28, 2018.
Koryzno, Peter. “MCC Alumnus to Create Life-Size Sculpture of Famed Muskegon Musician.”
Reflections Magazine. Pub. Summer Issue, 2017.