Artistic Talents of Autoworkers Shine at Exhibit Unveiled by UAW-Chrysler NTC

Oct 14, 2010, 17:00 ET from Chrysler Group LLC

WARREN, Mich., Oct. 14 /PRNewswire/ -- A welded sculpture symbolizing the plight of innocent civilians victimized by a civil war in Africa captured top honors as Chrysler Group LLC and the UAW unveiled an art show that reveals autoworkers' creative side.

The jointly sponsored 2010-2011 Artists at Work Exhibition features 85 pieces of art, ranging from sculpture and painting to blown glass and photography by 39 UAW-represented and non-bargaining unit Chrysler employees.

UAW and Chrysler officials recognized the employee-artists at a reception this evening at the UAW-Chrysler Technology Training Center in Warren. Artists at Work is the country's only juried art show sponsored by a major corporation and a labor union.

Three judges from the professional art community chose pieces for the 2010-2011 exhibition, the eighth coordinated by the UAW-Chrysler National Training Center (NTC) since 1999.

Judges awarded "best of show" prizes to three employees and also singled out eight employees for honorable mention recognition.

For the first time, Chrysler Group employees shared the Artists at Work spotlight with children from a Detroit youth center that seeks to meet the needs of disadvantaged kids. The new exhibit includes photographs by students who participate in the Woodbridge Community Youth Center's after-school program.

"We've added Youth in Focus, a new section of Artists at Work that connects this program with the community and recognizes the creativity of young people who may become aspiring artists of the future," said the UAW's Keith Mickens, NTC co-director. "We welcome participation by children from the Woodbridge Community Youth Center."

Michael Brown, NTC co-director from Chrysler, said the 23 UAW members and 16 non-represented Chrysler Group employees in the new exhibit represent a cross section of the company's workforce. They come from 15 Chrysler locations in the United States.

"Artists at Work has become an integral part of our UAW-Chrysler culture," said Brown. "We place a high priority on recognizing employees who set high standards and help to give the Chrysler Group a competitive edge. These employee-artists are a multitalented group who do just that."

Since its inception, the Artists at Work program has showcased 1,017 pieces of art by 486 Chrysler employees.

"Artists at Work continues to be an important reminder of the sometimes unknown and unrecognized talents of Chrysler employees on the shop floor and throughout the corporation," said Mickens. "Their work is a tribute to their creative energy and innovative spirit – qualities they bring to their jobs as well as their art."

This year's first-place winner is Dennis Sabatowich, a weld inspector at Warren Truck Assembly. The UAW Local 140 member impressed the judges with his thought-provoking metal sculpture that raises awareness of the humanitarian crisis caused by the ongoing civil war in the Darfur region of western Sudan.

"I was trying to picture what an individual would look like after weeks of wandering in a desert, looking for help," said Sabatowich. "Your village was burned to the ground, village people are killed and the lucky ones flee into the desert with just the clothes on their backs."

Loel Gnadt, an electrician at Warren Stamping, earned second place for demonstrating his prowess at wood turning, a centuries-old art form that stresses fine craftsmanship. His winning entry consisted of a vase, a candy dish and a rounded vessel.

A member of UAW Local 869, Gnadt said the painstaking wood turning process yields "great joy and satisfaction when the more complicated pieces come out just as I envisioned them. I feel like I hit a hit a home run."

Richard Weber, an assembler at Belvidere (Ill.) Assembly, won third place with a unique photograph that provides a panoramic view of downtown Belvidere. He was motivated by a sense of history.

"I felt it was important to capture this street-level view of our small town America because, once a large period of time passes, you can't go back and record it," said the UAW Local 1268 member.

The eight employees who received honorable mentions for 2010-2011 are:

  • Michael Cattane, photographer, Chrysler Technology Center in Auburn Hills, Mich., photography
  • James Donnellon, product engineer, Chrysler Technology Center, blown glass
  • Stanford J. Giles, millwright, Kokomo (Ind.) Casting, UAW Local 1166, metal engraving
  • Phillip H. Hill, Sr., toolmaker, jig & fixture, Mt. Elliott Tool and Die in Detroit, UAW Local 212, drawing
  • Michael M. Lynch, skilled trades safety trainer, Belvidere Assembly, UAW Local 1268, photography
  • Catherine Stoey, photographer, Chrysler Technology Center, UAW Local 412, photography
  • Tammie Wilson, human resources assistant, UAW-Chrysler National Training Center in Detroit, photography
  • Ghevarghese Yohannan, electrician, Sterling Stamping in Sterling Heights, Mich., UAW Local 1264, wood sculpture

The artistic talents of five children from the Woodbridge Community Youth Center's after-school program are recognized in the new Youth in Focus section of the Artists at Work Exhibition. Judges selected the best photograph from among the entries submitted by each child. The young participants are:

  • Aminah Brown, 8th grade, Henry Ford Center for Creative Studies
  • Amanie Hendon, 5th grade, Edmonson Elementary School
  • Rekeisha Lake, 6th grade, Edmonson Elementary School
  • Sakinah Phifer, 7th grade, Detroit Academy of Arts and Science
  • Markquitta Reed, 7th grade, University Preparatory Academy

The children took photography classes at the Woodbridge youth center taught by respected photojournalist Monica A. Morgan.

Funding for the classes was provided by the Leave the Light On Foundation, established by UAW Vice President General Holiefield, director of the union's Chrysler Department. The foundation also has supported other aspects of the youth center's diverse after-school program.

Following today's opening, the Artists at Work Exhibition will travel to the Chrysler Technology Center where it may be viewed by employees and visitors at the headquarters complex for about six weeks.

The UAW-Chrysler National Training Center, located near downtown Detroit, and the UAW-Chrysler Technology Training Center in Warren will host the artwork for a year upon its return from corporate headquarters. The exhibit, which may be viewed online at, is not open to the public.

For more information, please visit the Chrysler media site at

SOURCE Chrysler Group LLC