Art doesn't just happen in a studio.
Each year, the parks, plazas, schools, shopping districts, galleries, and community centers of University City—Washington University's neighbor to the north—fill with works by Sam Fox School art students as part of the Community Visuals Series, a collaboration between the Sam Fox School and University City.
University City Sculpture Series
For students, the University City Sculpture Series has become a rite of passage, a chance to explore the social aspects and civic responsibilities of being an artist. Since the project's inception in the fall of 1986, more than 200 students, 17 professors, 4 deans, 2 chancellors, 60 commission members, and 2 mayors have collaborated on it.
Participants gain valuable hands-on experience proposing works of public art for temporary installation. They choose locations, estimate costs, and design models. They make professional presentations before the city's Municipal Commission on Arts & Letters. Winning projects—funded by the city and the Regional Arts Commission of St. Louis—are constructed, installed, and unveiled.
The 2015 University City Sculpture Series features the folllowing winning projects:
Golden in Silver by Jonathan Berger
The project utilized a photographic art tool from the past—the tintype—to bring together people of the present. Earlier in 2015, Berger held several public events where citizens were able to tell their stories about University City and have their picture taken with a tintype camera. These pictures and stories are being featured in exhibitions, through the mail, and on the project website. Through this process, Berger hopes "we can begin to recognize the gold of University City, its citizens."
The opening reception for the exhibition at University City Public Library will take place from 2-4p Saturday, July 18.
Hands of Change by Sarah Hull
As Hull notes, this project celebrates the activist role of citizens, “when people recognized their duty to their community and lifted their voices.” She notes, “Activism requires a sense of ownership of one’s community that goes far beyond the role of a resident and forces a community to come together to respond to an issue.” Concrete hands will come up from the ground along Ackert Walkway near the Delmar Loop, holding large, semi-transparent historical photographs of activist moments in University City.
Have A Seat: Say, What’s Good? by Madeline Marak
Scheduled for construction in Millar Park, this piece will consist of a colorful outdoor living room space, couch, chairs, and artificial flowers, where Marak says “the community can interact in a comfortable setting.” She believes that “as citizens, we don’t always get to choose where we live, but we can choose how we live in that place.” Her research into the use of public spaces brought to light the responsibility citizens can come to feel about the spaces they frequent. The unexpected nature of her piece, she hopes, will encourage a greater sense of responsibility to the space, and foster questions and enjoyment.
Stockade by Jared Stein
This project reflects Stein’s belief that “to be a citizen is to enter into a social contract with a given community.” It looks at what happens when the community feels this contract has been broken, through a monument consisting of a large transparent Plexiglass stockade. Scheduled for installation in the area west of Craft Alliance in the Delmar Loop, it matches the traditional placement of the stockade—a central and heavily-trafficked public space—and, according to Stein, should represent “the transparency of the modern judicial system and serve as a symbol of the social contract between citizens and the agents of the judiciary.”
University City Gallery Series
Launched in 2013, the University City Gallery Series showcases a curated exhibition of gallery-based works, including painting, drawings, printmaking, and photography.
The 2015 University City Gallery Series featured works by the following students: Sam Boven, Andrew Catanese, Jimena Gracia, Isaac Howell, Anya Kavanaugh, Rebecca Lothan, Calvin Miceli-Nelson, Charlotte Spitzfaden, and Jake Yoo. Curated by professor Buzz Spector, the exhibition was on view January 20-31 at the University City Public Library.
The Municipal Commission on Arts & Letters acted as jury for this year's Gallery Series. First place was awarded to Anya Kavanaugh, Charlotte Spitzfaden took second place, and Isaac Howell received third place honors.
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Watch a 1987 CALOP documentary on the beginnings of the series>>
2014 University City Scupture Series: Photos | News Story
Funding for Community Visuals is provided in part by the Marvin Levy Family, the City of University City, and the Regional Arts Commission of St. Louis.