IU East’s Outdoor Sculpture Exhibit brings new artwork to campus

September 26, 2019 |

Seven new sculptures are in place as part of Indiana University East’s Outdoor Sculpture Exhibit.

The juried exhibit is now on its third installation. Each piece is on loan and will be on campus for two years, through August 2021.

metal and wood sculpture outside of Whitewater Hall

William Brown, Woodbury, Connecticut, “Spiral Voyage,” located behind Whitewater Hall.

Artists from across the United States were invited to submit their work for consideration to be included in the Outdoor Sculpture Exhibit. There were 114 entries submitted for the juried exhibit.

Lauren McAdams Selden traveled more than 900 miles from Nacogdoches, Texas, to install her piece, “Charlie.” She is a professor of art at Stephen F. Austin State University.

“As a Hoosier who has lived outside of the state for 20 years, it is an honor to be part of the IU East Outdoor Sculpture Exhibition,” McAdams Selden said. “This exhibition has an excellent reputation in the sculpture community and I was impressed with the professional crew and beautiful spaces. I hope that my sculpture “Charlie” can make people smile on their daily walk to class or work.”

Jeremy Waak had a slightly shorter distance to travel from Lancaster, Pennsylvania, at just over 500 miles to Richmond. He responded to the open call on Café to submit his entry for the exhibit.

Waak, the chair of foundation and associate professor at the Pennsylvania College of Art and Design, said his piece, “AGVC3v1,” is part of a series of sculptures to combine plant and machine characteristics. The sculpture in place was intended to be tabletop sized but an opportunity to have a large-scale sculpture last summer made this exhibit a good chance to revisit the experience, he added.

“At the most basic, I hope viewers see something new in my sculpture. AGVC3v2 is not the general large outdoor sculpture, very heavy and solid looking, it is instead airy and transparent,” Waak said. “Maybe it can add to a viewer’s ideas of what is possible, change their notion of what is normal and inspire them. I hope there is a feeling of the familiar, like a faint memory reminding one of something they can’t quite remember. ‘It almost looks like …’ My aspiration for my sculpture is to pull a viewer out of their daily grind, if even for a brief moment, and into a thought disconnected from their tasks and responsibilities. Freeing them for just a bit.”

metal and plastic sculpture outside of Tom Raper Hall

Rebecca Tanda, Chicago, Illinois, “Build a scaffold for your desire,” located near Tom Raper Hall.

Each sculpture was carefully selected by jurors. IU East faculty Ann Kim, associate professor of fine arts; Carrie Longley, associate professor of fine arts; and Nate Kuznia, studio and gallery coordinator are the jurors. Longley said the artwork was selected based on the sculpture’s appropriate size and proportion for the outdoor spaces, that it communicated a unique expression and use of material, and it could survive the extreme weather conditions of Richmond.

Additionally, works for the exhibit are chosen based on having a strong visual presence in the open and natural setting of the campus quad and because of dynamic designs from multiple vantage points.

“The outdoor sculpture exhibition has served as a wonderful teaching tool for our students and adds a great deal of intrigue and contrast to the natural setting of our campus,” Longley said.

She added she enjoys hearing feed back from students, faculty and staff on the artwork selected for the exhibition.

“Everyone I talk to has their personal favorite and least favorite sculpture on campus. The sculptures even influence some to choose a different walking path each day,” she said.

As the sculptures arrive on campus for installation, often people walking across the campus stop to watch as the artists arrange the pieces for installation. The IU East Office of Physical Facilities assists the artists with moving the artwork into place and securing each piece to a specially constructed cement pad.

Each artist receives a $2,500 award that may be used to offset costs to transport their piece to the campus.

“I am honored to be included in this exhibition and to have my work shown along side such amazing artists,” Waak said. “Large outdoor sculpture is a new addition to my studio practice and having it accepted so promptly is inspiring. Much of my work up to this point has been hand-held sized or just a bit bigger. Translating that aesthetic into a large scale was a risk for me, but the experience has fed back into the smaller work. There is a fun dialog happening between the large and the small sculptures in my studio. Where this will go I’m excited to see.”

McAdams Selden said it was exciting to be part of the installation.

“Thank you for supporting the arts and allowing outdoor sculpture to be part of the every day commute,” she said.

An eighth outdoor sculpture reserved for student artwork is located on the patio of Whitewater Hall. Morgan Eamon’s piece, “Botanic Bodies,” was selected for the student sculpture. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Fine Arts degree in May 2019.

Eamon said Longley helped her to formulate the idea. As a ceramics student, Eamon helped to throw bowls for IU East’s Empty Bowls event. The sculpture is composed of the surplus bowls she made. She considers the piece to be a celebration of the success of the annual event on campus.

“Aesthetically, I wanted to make the floral heads of the sculpture at once equally beautiful and grotesque,” Eamon said. “It was a very fun project to work on, and I learned a lot from the process as it was the largest scale artwork I had ever attempted. It is surreal having this piece on display to so many people, but I feel very honored to be able to share it.”

Artists and Outdoor Sculptures

  • Matthew Boonstra, Charleston, Illinois, “The Passing,” located in front of Whitewater Hall.
  • William Brown, Woodbury, Connecticut, “Spiral Voyage,” located behind Whitewater Hall.
  • Lauren McAdams Selden, Nacogdoches, Texas, “Charlie,” located in front of Hayes Hall.
  • John Parker, Glenside, Pennsylvania, “Said the Spider to the Fly,” located on the quad.
  • Chad Periman, Port St. Lucie, Florida, “Three Sentinels,” located near the Whitewater Hall patio.
  • Rebecca Tanda, Chicago, Illinois, “Build a scaffold for your desire,” located near Tom Raper Hall.
  • Jeremy Waak, Lancaster, Pennsylvania, “AGVC3v1,” located near Springwood Hall.

“This exhibition exposes a very broad audience of viewers to a variety of expressions and unique uses of familiar materials,” Longley said. “Viewers may be reminded of nautical structures when they view the work of William Brown, appreciate an innovative use of automotive parts and scrap metal with ‘Three Sentinels’ by Chad Periman, or find humor in the expression of Lauren McAdams Selden’s, ‘Charlie.’ I look forward to hearing different interpretations of the sculptures as our campus and community has more time to view the exhibit.”

The Outdoor Sculpture Exhibit is just one of several exhibits the campus hosts. IU East has the second largest art collection in the IU system. The campus also has two galleries, the Tom Thomas Gallery and the Meijer Artway. In October, will have the 41st Annual Whitewater Valley Art Competition, a well-known open juried compeition.

“I hope that viewers will be inspired to seek out the other art pieces on our campus,” Longley said. “IU East has a permanent collection of over 250 pieces and two galleries with rotating exhibits every six weeks. The nature of the outdoor exhibition allows it to have the most exposure, however, there is so much engaging artwork in each one of our buildings on campus.”