Andrew Near is an alumnus of Grand Valley and received his Bachelor of Fine Arts with a dual emphasis in Ceramics and Jewelry/Metalsmithing in 2003. He was a Barbara H. Padnos International Scholar at the Gerrit Rietveld Académie in the Netherlands. Near has attended museum workshops at the Campbell Center for Historical Preservation Studies and has a penchant for display mount fabrication. He is a professional artist, represented by the Lafontsee Gallery in Grand Rapids. He received his Master of Arts degree in Historical Administration from the Eastern Illinois University, Charleston, in 2011.