The Journey Begins
As a college student money is tight most of the time, and with a down turn in the economy it has become even more important to curb my spending. People always talk about college students' spring break trips and the crazy amount of money spent on excursions to all the corners of the globe. Unfortunately, I am not able to afford these pricy vacations and I began to think about what I could do to experience culture in my own backyard. As I researched my community and university, I came upon the University Museums website and learned just how important they really are. The most impressive thing about the museums on campus is their collection of public artwork. Iowa State University has the largest collection of public works of art of any university in the United States! This fact shocked me and truly made me think... why do I have to take an airplane to see great art? Do I really need to spend a fortune to experience fine art and culture? The answer I came to was absolutely not! Not until I came to this realization did I feel I had something worthy of blogging about. This blog is my journey through 645 pieces of public work on the Iowa State University campus. I will include my opinions, my interpretations, and always a little background research to put the piece in context. Shall we go on a campus tour?
Thursday, August 26, 2010
We Shall Know Iowa State By Its Myriad Parts
This quote is a great way to interpret the goal of the artists and also the goal of the University Museums to inspire students through images of their future.
My interpretations of the mural have been altered slightly by the information I found through the museum, however the panels speak for themselves. As a student of Iowa State, I find the mural to be incredibly motivating. I feel the artwork is successful in making even the most basic aspects of any academic or athletic program seem monumental. By placing these images in the atrium of the two-story building each panel seems significant.
When I first visited the mural I went with a friend of mine that is getting a degree in chemistry…a complete 180 degrees from my own degree program. However, what I found amazing was that both of us were able to connect with certain aspects of the mural and even found panels that touched us both. As I stood in front of this immense mural the emotion that came through the strongest was a feeling of pride: proud that I was a hard worker academically, proud to be a part of the College of Design, and most importantly proud to be a Cyclone. After I left the mural, I couldn’t help but think about the fact that the sculptural mural was a relatively simple idea. As the institution that commissioned the mural, I might have had a hard time accepting this concept for fear that it might be too obvious to viewers. I would have feared that it would not have elicited enough emotion or kept visitors coming back. Wow did Sticks, Inc. deliver! Not only is each tile thought provoking, they also challenge the viewer to think about the deeper meaning of each image. I was even compelled to do some research about ISU after I could not identify the relationship some of the panels had with the university.
In the end, I was able to grasp what I thought was a simple, elementary concept and see how effective this mural had become. I am glad We Shall Know Iowa State By Its Myriad Parts, was my first artwork in my blog because it gave me a sense of what the University Museums is looking for when they purchase art for their public collection. Providing a mural that all students can identify with and appreciate in their own way makes this sculptural mural a successful work of art for an academic success center. In addition, I have learned the importance of site-specific public artwork. Through understanding the importance of this murals location I will be able to evaluate how successful the location is for other public artwork.
To complete this blog entry I would like to express how important it is to research and learn about your own community and university. No matter if you live at ISU or, god forbid you might go to the University of Iowa, or even somewhere across the country, before you think about spending gobs of money to experience other culture see what is in your own backyard. You might be surprised by what you find.
-By Libby Grant