Eastern Michigan University's Art Walk encourages visitors to stroll through campus while enjoying sculptures by students, instructors and professionals

Art adds an additional layer to the campus beautification program

by Pamela Young, Published October 21, 2013

YPSILANTI – Whether you are an art aficionado or just like to browse among sculptures, Eastern Michigan University’s campus art tour has something for nearly everyone.

The newly established Eastern Michigan art walk is designed to encourage visitors to stroll through campus and enjoy a series of art works from 1964 through 2009.

“There has been so much done to beautify the campus, and art adds another layer,” said Colin Blakely, head of EMU’s art department. “Art gives a unique voice to the campus.”

The sculptures are made of various metals (many of them bronze) and eight have descriptions that provide information about the artist and his or her work. Artwork with expanded information includes QVRs for a map and video.

“Art makes you stop, question and think,” said Blakely, whose specialty is photography. “The university is an intellectual setting and artwork provides an intellectual richness.”

 Sculptures featured during the walk are:

  •  Diane by student Darryl Miller (1982)
  • Martin Luther King Jr. bust by artist Nancy Sippel (1989)
  • Onna by student Hiroti Fukushima (1999)
  • Crouching Figure by student Matthew Bierel (1999)
  • Untitled by artist Bill Barrett (1964)
  • Psychic Amour of Aphrodite by student John Havranek (1999)
  • Mass: Space 1 by Greg Clayton (1984)
  • Diver by John Mills (1988)
  • Icarus by John Pappas, professor emeritus (2003)
  • Lineage by former lecturer Charles McGee (2009)
  • Eagles Rising by artist Meir Naghi (2009)

“More than fifty percent of the work is by our students and instructors,” Blakely said. “Although a number of universities have campus art walks, it’s rare to see so much student-created work. Universities tend to stay with established artists.”

"Lineage" by Charles McGee is one of 11 sculptures on Eastern Michigan University's campus

Blakely recommends visitors start at the east side of Ford Hall, located north of Cross St. At that location, visitors can view Miller’s Diane. From there, stop by the Martin Luther King Jr. Garden, where a bust of King by Sippel is prominently displayed.

Ford Hall and historic Starkweather Hall face three other sculptures by students: Onna by Fukushima; Bierel’s Crouching Figure; and Psychic Armour of Aphrodite by Havranek

A blue sculpture, Untitled, by Barrett, leads the way past Starkweather and Sherzer, the oldest building on campus, to one of the newest buildings - the Science Complex. There, Clayton’s Mass: Space 1 reminds visitors of the complexity and wonder of science.

Diver by Mills features the graceful stance of a diver soaring into water. Standing in front of the natatorium, it is representative of Eastern Michigan’s award-winning swimming and diving teams.

A dynamic form, called Icarus, by Pappas, professor emeritus of art, graces Quirk and Sponberg Theatres, northeast of the natatorium.

After leaving the theatres, visitors can stroll through the park and its lake north of the recreation/intramural building. Upon reaching the top of the stairs, McGee’s Lineage greets visitors with its white-coated metal reflecting off the glass wall of EMU’s Student Center.

Finally, on the west side entrance to the Student Center, Eagles Rising bursts forth from its base.

There are approximately 10-20 students majoring in sculpture at a given time, said Blakely. The familiarity students gain by working with various materials opens up a variety of fields when they graduate.

Many of the students work in areas of fabrication (both hand-made and industrial) creating 3-D objects. Others use their sculpture skills in modeling prototypes for the automotive industry. Several students have worked in metal casting foundries as technicians, as well as bronze and large-scale sculptural restoration.

In addition to the sculpture program, Eastern Michigan’s art department offers 13 other specialties: painting; drawing; watercolor; printmaking; fibers; photography; furniture design; jewelry/metalsmithing; ceramics (pottery); graphic design; art education and art history.

For more about Eastern Michigan’s art program, visit the art department's homepage 


Pamela Young

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