Benton Art Walk
Published: Thursday, September 26, 2013
Updated: Thursday, September 26, 2013 20:09
“That’s what is so great about art,” said Benton Museum Director Susan Zito as she led our tour group to all odds and ends of UConn’s campus on the Benton’s Campus Art Walk. “It’s all about what the art means to you. There is no right or wrong like there is in your other classes. The art was put here to generate discussion and for people to make observations and form opinions.”
As she spoke, the group looked on to a sculpture made of acrylic polymers, somewhat resembling sea glass, that frames each side of the main doors of the entrance to the music building across the street from the new Storrs Center. The light played with the glass-like structure bringing out the colors of the landscape scene that was carved out. The creator was a local artist, Ray Hitchcock, who was also a former professor at UConn. Hitchcock also has work that is showcased at the Modern Museum of Art in New York City.
The sculpture seems to be a piece of art that is often overlooked by passers-by, and by students who hurry through the doors on the way to class. Although the work was beautiful, it seems to secretly blend in as a part of the campus and become somewhat lost in the mix.
This is true for many of the works that we saw on this tour, more specifically the South Campus tour. There are three separate Campus Art Walks for students, faculty and even the general public to choose from: one in central campus, North Campus, as well as the South Campus tour. The North Campus tour is where the newer pieces of the walk are located, while the South Campus tour holds some of the original pieces that made up the walk.
Much of the art was found in the most unusual of places. The first piece of art the group walked to was the Copper Tower constructed by artist Jackie Ferrara, who’s style reflects Egyptian and Mesopotamian characteristics. The structure, installed in 2000, sits outside the Music Building across the street from Mirror Lake. The green metal tower camouflages nicely with the large trees surrounding it, but as the sun glints at the metal, it seems to give off a glow worth admiring.
Another piece sits, interestingly enough, on the backside of the Fine Arts Building in a parking lot. Surrounded by a small rock garden, a 3,000-pound ball of marble created by Richard Graham is a great work of art. Part of the 1 Percent Initiative, a program developed so that for every new building or renovation done on campus one percent of the cost must go to visual art, the marble ball, called Untitled, was brought specifically for UConn from Italy where the sculptor lived and worked at the time.
Zito, as well as tour group members which consisted of faculty on their lunch breaks, freshman venturing out on an assignment for their FYE classes and other interested students, wished that the pieces could be showcased in more appropriate places, a part of campus where students would be able to appreciate the interesting beauty of the unique works of art. Although they may not always get the placement they deserve, the Benton’s Campus Art Walk does a wonderful job giving them special attention and appreciation. Susan Zito gives an informative and engaging tour that keeps the group’s interest and proves to be very entertaining. It is a great way to learn unknown, fun facts about UConn as well. Tours happen fairly regularly and are usually announced in the Daily Digest and on the Benton’s website. It is a great pastime for when family visits or if you have some time free from work and want to see the beauty that our campus has to offer.