During these difficult times deep friendships mattered, a lot, to Armand. In 1995 he joined a newly forming group of kindred spirits who later became known as “The West Michigan Eight.” Composed of eight local artists and art professors, they met four or five times a year at the Schnitzelbank in downtown Grand Rapids.
It was a tight knit group requiring “a certain level of maturity” stated member Jon McDonald, art professor at Kendall College of Art and Design. “Armand was the dean. He was tremendously respected for all he knew and for what he was able to do, even holding a certain reserved seat at the table. He would set the tone and take the conversation to a whole different level. No one would say a word about anything, and then Armand would say, ‘I was thinking what water sounds like if you can’t see it and there were trees in front of it. How would you still get the feeling of rushing water?’ and then it was like, ah, now we have a subject. . . .
They were always very insightful statements he could make which would cause you to think. There were times when I’m not so sure he was eating because he was philosophizing. It was great information and basically he became the teacher. We all knew that he was farther evolved” (Dornbush/Zandstra Interview with Jon McDonald, 10-26-12).
Armand stayed with this group until his death in 2010.