Art on campus is more than just sculptures
September 10, 2021
For students and faculty, art is both visual and abstract, and all forms are seen and experienced on campus every day.
Over the past 10 years, UVM’s campus has grown its collection of art such as the iconic Bus Ball near Marsh Life Science Building and Tango, the new sculpture representing STEM behind Central Campus Residence Hall. However, many students look beyond these physical pieces and see art in people and ideas.
When former UVM President Tom Sullivan came to campus in 2012, he admired the beauty of UVM’s campus and thought he could add to the artistic nature with more modern art, he said.
“I thought, ‘wouldn’t it be nice to try to enrich the beauty and aesthetic of the campus with more public sculptures?’ Particularly if they were a bit more modern or contemporary,” Sullivan said.
During his seven years as University president, he was able to bring 12 new pieces of art to campus, many of which were created by UVM alumni, Sullivan said.
Sullivan’s love for the fine arts started when he was an undergraduate student, he said.
“[Art] is a means to appreciate the meaning and the purpose of life,” Sullivan said. “It gives us a better insight, a better understanding of the importance of humanities and arts in our life.”
Sullivan’s favorite art piece on campus is a sculpture on the Waterman green designed by Richard Herman. However, more than art itself, Sullivan said he appreciates others’ enjoyment of art forms.
“Two of our students, a young man and young woman, were out [on the sculpture] dancing in ballet form and I thought ‘how wonderful,’” Sullivan said. “They had smiles on their faces, and it brought a smile to my face.”
Sullivan said he hopes students interact with art pieces on campus and ponder the deeper meaning.
The Vermont Cynic asked students what art means to them and where they see art on campus. Many students felt art is everywhere, in more than one form.
Junior Jenna McDonald said art can be a form of emotion.
“It’s just a way for people to express what they’re feeling or what they’re going through or just their experience overall,” McDonald said. “I see it in a lot of places on campus. I don’t know, just like posters on the wall or different events that happen.”
Junior Chloe Derosia said she sees art in her peers.
“On campus, I feel like people are pretty expressive in everything that they do. So that’s the way they dress or talk or share their opinions of things, it can be considered art,” Derosia said.
For sophomore Julia Tanier, art is close to home.
“Art means a lot to me,” she said. “I love photography, and I love photographing my friends and the environment around here is great for that.”
Despite having a campus of diverse students with different interests, Tanier said she sees art is in everyone.
“Everyone here seems like no matter what their major is, there’s something artistic going on, in the way that they’re presenting themselves, or at least in their spirituality in regards to how they view the world,” she said. “So it’s kind of a mindset.”
Junior Rivan Calderin said artistry can be found in all academic disciplines.
“I think art is the expression of what you’re passionate about,” he said. “Art can really be done in any sort of field and any major or line of work as long as you are passionate about it, and go all in on it and express it uniquely in your own way.”
Whether it manifests as a hobby, a part of an academic schedule or simply as a visual piece a person sees as they walk across campus, art matters to UVM students and faculty.