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6/22/2007 8:02:00 AM
Sculpting nature in Columbus
IUPUI senior sculpture major Joe Thompson photographs his sculpture, “Wooden Crane and Silent Bell,” after installing it in the IUPUC sculpture garden. The Republic photo by Joel Philippsen
IUPUI senior sculpture major Joe Thompson photographs his sculpture, “Wooden Crane and Silent Bell,” after installing it in the IUPUC sculpture garden. The Republic photo by Joel Philippsen

The Republic

By Chrissy Alspaugh, The Republic

   Two pieces of student art arrived at IUPU-Columbus' Duke Energy Sculpture Garden Thursday. Joe Thompson and Alex Peace, students at IUPUI's Herron School of Art and Design, spent much of the day atop scaffolding, erecting their artwork.

   "It's an incredible opportunity to have our work here," Peace said. "Few student- artists ever get a chance like this."
   The garden is a joint venture between IUPUC and Columbus Parks and Recreation Department to turn two acres behind the college into a wildflower meadow, punctuated with sculptures and paths connected to the People Trail.
   The garden in the last year received three sculptures from Herron faculty and two pieces form local artists.
   Art will rotate in and out of the garden on a two-year cycle.
   "The idea is to give people something new to enjoy on a fairly regular basis," said John Greenwell, director of marketing and recruitment.
   "The addition of student art makes the garden exactly what we'd hoped for."
Unique for students
   Greg Hull, associate professor of sculpture at Herron School of Art and Design, helped his students assemble their pieces and said he is excited for the real-world experience IUPUC's garden has offered.
   Hull teaches junior- and senior-level sculpture courses and said most students learn about creating public art on only a theoretical basis.
   Building the commissioned art for IUPUC allowed his students to learn about everything from designing for a client to meeting deadlines and staying on budget, he said.
   "One of the hardest things for a beginning artist is to demonstrate he can do those things," Hull said. "This is a great springboard for their careers."
   Joe Thompson, creator of "Wooden Crane and Silent Bell," said he was surprised by how many engineering challenges and differing opinions he had to juggle in creating the piece.
   "It's been tough at times, but it was a great learning experience," he said.
   Thompson said he plans to continue working with largescale sculptures.
   "The chance to create the piece for IUPUC showed me my own potential," he said. "This garden is really a gem."
   Peace, who constructed "Dwelling," said it's somewhat intimidating that his work will be viewed - and judged.
   Peace hopes the sculpture, which sits outside Center for Teaching and Learning's library, is an "escape" for some.
   "Hopefully, it's a peaceful place where their minds can wander," he said.
   Rob Zinkan, director of gift development and alumni relations at IUPUC, said the community so far has embraced the sculpture garden.
   "People seem very excited about the increase in public art" throughout Columbus, he said.
   "I think they appreciate the diversity of the pieces. It makes them think."

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