Art Commissioned for Esplanade Path Sculpture Walk

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The first of the works of art, "Eye to Eye" is near Kent Hall.
Four works of art will soon appear along the university Esplanade as part of the Percent for Art Program. The Office of the University Architect, along with the Ohio Arts Council, chose the artists from a pool of applicants, and finalists were chosen after presenting their sculpture concept proposals.


The Percent for Arts Program requires that 1 percent of state funds of $4 million or more for building or renovation be used for the commissioning or acquiring and installing art works. Kent State’s project, the Sculpture Walk, was the idea of Thomas Euclide, executive director of facilities planning and operation.

Beth Ruffing, Kent State’s assistant director of capital design and construction, says that these public art projects are important. “Art is a statement of our culture and the time, and it also enhances our environment,” Ruffing says.

The first artist chosen for the Sculpture Walk is Cleveland sculptor Giancarlo Calicchia. His work, a carved granite boulder surrounded by other granite pieces, will be arranged between Terrace Drive and Kent Hall. The piece, titled “Athleta,” is part of Calicchia’s series “The Witnesses.”

Calicchia’s work was installed on the Esplanade on July 27.

The second artist, Barry Gunderson of Gambier, Ohio, proposed a piece called Eye to Eye. Gunderson’s piece is a response to the human mind and how it works, and is a tribute to the Department of Psychology. It is on the Esplanade near Kent Hall and Hilltop Drive. Gunderson is an art professor at Kenyon College.

Eye to Eye was installed in early July.

The third artist is Susan Ewing of Oxford, Ohio. Her piece, entitled “Starsphere 2010,” relates to the First Amendment of the Constitution and will be aptly located near the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the north end of Franklin Hall in the Esplanade Circle. Ewing is associate dean of the School of Fine Arts at Miami University.

Additionally, a work by Jarret Hawkins of Cincinnati will be placed in Risman Plaza once construction is complete. His abstract piece will be made of Corten steel.

The university is also working with the artists to schedule speaking engagements during fall semester. These discussions will give them an opportunity to discuss their pieces, careers and past works with the university community.

The project goes hand-in-hand with another initiative that involves extending the Esplanade into downtown Kent. While the university and the city of Kent are still working out details of the extension, Ruffing feels the addition of the initial four pieces is a good step.

“Having so many large pieces come together at one point is a big entrance for Kent State on the public arts scene,” she says.

By Katie Young 

Return to Issue of Aug. 2, 2010 

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