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A metaphor for economic downturn RISING PHOENIX

The Rising Phoenix

The Phoenix from Above
Sunshine on the Phoenix
The Phoenix viewed from The Eberhard Building

The Story

A closeup view of the sculpture

For five years in a row, during the recent recession, Michigan had the highest unemployment rate in the nation. Its manufacturing base was in shambles. Thus, in 2011 Cynthia created The Rising Phoenix .

The Phoenix:
an ancient Egyptian symbol of immortality,
defined as a lone bird which lives in the desert for hundreds of years,
then sets itself on fire only to rise again from the ashes to start life anew.
The bird is often referred to as a firebird.

Cynthia used the cyclical force created by the life of the phoenix as a metaphor for the history of Michigan. The most recent firebird burned as the auto industry and all other components related to automotive production crumbled. The Rising Phoenix represents the current struggle of the state to regain its magnitude as a healthy, stable economy poised to lead the nation once again.


While she is a skilled welder, the sheer magnitude of The Rising Phoenix prevented Cynthia from fabricating the piece herself. The final sculture weighed in at over eight tons. She worked with the talented craftsmen of Premier Metal in Hudsonville, Michigan, to build the full-size sculpture.

Standing on a Ladder to Reach the Top

Terry VanHaitsma stands on a ladder to weld the metal firebird.

Cynthia peers through a hole in one of the Phoenix's wings while construction continues around her

Cynthia peers through a hole in one of the Phoenix's wings while construction continues around her.

A worker perched atop the wing provides a commanding view of the worksite

Terry VanHaitsma's perch atop the bird provides a commanding view.

Scott Walcott welds two panels together while assembling Cynthia's vision

Scott Walcott welds two parts together while assembling Cynthia's vision.

John Laurence painting the sculpture at night

As the deadline approached, painters from Fleet Refinishing in Holland, Michigan, found themselves finishing the final coat the night before the sculpture was to be delivered to its Grand Rapids viewing site.


A heavy crane lowers the first flame into place
Workers guide one of the Phoenix's wings into position.
The crew aligns the components and bolts them into place
A commercial gravel truck delivering the base gravel

                                                                                                                                   Cynthia celebrates her completed project

Copyright © 2015 cMc design. All Rights Reserved.
Concept, design and coding by Jean P. Johnson with Team Designova. Design implemented for cMc design by NetWerks LLC

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