GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.,  Aug. 18, 2022: Christina Hindley isn’t one to back down from a challenge.

So, to be an ArtPrize participant next month, while also juggling four new classes at GRCC and homeschooling her high school senior, leaves her undaunted.

“I’ve juggled more,” she said with a hearty chuckle.

Hindley, 46, returned to the classroom as a student last year after her husband’s Parkinson’s diagnosis made her realize she needed to buttress her resume with some employable skills.

A Michigan Reconnect student, she already has earned a GRCC gerontology certificate, a program that sees students study the field of aging, focusing on a basic understanding of processes, programs and policies related to aging, including the biological, behavioral and social aspects of later life.

This school year, she will complete an associate degree in psychology with an eye toward either working after graduation or going on to complete a four-year degree.

“I am going to need to work at some point in the near future,” she said simply. “And I’ll need to have a job that will pay decently. My GRCC degree will help me get there.”

She added that she is grateful for GRCC programs and classes that are helping her discern future career paths. Indeed, she pointed to a class last year on death and dying as being both transformational and vocational.

“It was required for the gerontology certificate,” she said. “But I really enjoyed it, and it made me realize that I maybe wouldn’t mind working in a hospice setting at some point. I think it would be a great fit with my service mindset.”

Her ArtPrize exhibit, titled “For the Love of Hope and Harmony,” also has, Hindley said, a service component.

The piece is 14,114 paper-quilled hearts mounted on board that is four feet by eight feet and arranged to resemble a sunset. Paper quilling is a centuries-old craft that uses thin strips of paper that are then formed into shapes; these shapes are combined into further shapes via artistic pinching and the strategic use of glue.

Hindley estimates that the project totaled hundreds of hours of work from December 2021 to July 2022. But the time invested, she added, was for a greater goal.

“My purpose is to show everybody that we are a lot more similar than we are different,” she said. “All of the hearts are individual but similar and then put together in what looks like a sunset because that’s something that everybody can see all over the world from anywhere you are. So, it’s a unifier. I feel like there’s just so much division right now. I wanted to do something to pull people together.”

As a self-proclaimed Guinness World Records fan — “I was born in the 1970s and loved reading the Guinness books,” she said — the fact that her piece might qualify for a world record is simply icing on the cake.

She’s been in contact with the Guinness World Record folks and, so far, has met all the criteria to set a world record. One stipulation is her work has to be displayed for at least five minutes, and her ArtPrize station (she will be at Park Congregational Church, near the GRCC downtown campus) fits the bill, so she’s hopeful that she’ll qualify.

And if not?

“It’s all just a bonus at this point,” she said. “I’ve always just wanted to be a part of ArtPrize. I can’t wait.”