UWF students bring art and innovation to the College of Education and Professional Studies
Three art and design student teams recently designed and installed a series of five sculptures for the College of Education and Professional Studies courtyard space.
CEPS Dean William Crawley initiated the original project in 2019 with an invitation to create art for the CEPS central courtyard. After a successful first round of art that remained on display for over a year, he invited Carrie Fonder, associate professor of art in the Department of Art and Design, and her students to do another iteration of the project.
Nine students worked in three groups to produce five sculptures. Crawley, his faculty and staff met with Fonder and her students and shared information about the College and its mission. From there, the students developed some key meaningful themes that were conceptualized in the sculptures. The works had to not only conform to the physical aspects of the courtyard space but also be relevant to the focus of the CEPS community.
The teams created three related works: Perspective, Focus and Reflection. The sculptures are made of painted steel, mirror and acrylic sheet and are displayed in the serene, natural surroundings of the trees and plants in the courtyard.
Perspective, designed by art students Wanda Dorman, Alyx Jeffries and Sydney McDaniel, demonstrates the birth of new viewpoints through the use of glossy transparent acrylic, a metallic finish on angle iron, and cube structures.The light and shadows are continuously changing throughout the day allowing the sculpture to change without actually changing. Depending on the position of the viewer, different angles of the cube appear closer, demonstrating shifts in perspective. In each of the acrylic slats are faint reflections of the foliage shifting with the viewers eyes, which also suggest new perspectives. To change perspective is to broaden an understanding and to ultimately see more. Through the use of repetition and transparency, one viewpoint suddenly turns into multiple new ones.
Focus is a pair of large geometric steel arrows, one bright pink curving downward and the other brilliant blue circling upward. The sculptures convey the concept of creation that directs attention throughout the entire space. Focus was created by Jordan Clark, Andrew Hollingsworth and Elizabeth Williams.
Reflection is the creation of Hannah Angel, Liam DeVaughn and Nick Newkirk. It is a large steel structure with twin reflective stairs, colorful acrylic triangle components and a large mirrored medallion in the center. Reflection is an important part of our lives, whether it be thoughts of the past, present, future or the world around us.
Fonder said the students learned valuable lessons that will help them stand apart in their career fields. She stated one of the greatest challenges was for the teams to develop sculpture pieces that could stand alone but also work together collectively, which was a unique challenge.
“Problem solving is a really essential part of creating large -scale, outdoor art,” she said. “It’s also an important part of fulfilling client needs. I’m really proud of how the students dealt with all the variables to deliver such a successful collection of works.”
Early feedback has been overwhelmingly positive.
“People are finding the works fun and thought provoking,” said Fonder.
Sophomore criminal justice student Heidi Hinson was resting on a comfy chair in the raised courtyard overlook area.
She said, “I think the bright colors of the sculptures make the natural elements more beautiful and the greenery make the colors in the sculptures really pop. The mirror reminds me to reflect on my life. I find the whole display really peaceful.”
Reactions like Hinson’s have Fonder hoping for more projects like this one in the future. The sculpture project was made possible financially by CEPS and a High Impact Project Grant.
For more information about the Department of Art and Design, visit uwf.edu/art.