Sculpture promotes art at Williamson
Published: Monday, November 14, 2011
Updated: Monday, November 14, 2011 20:11
The Williamson College of Business Administration held a dedication ceremony on Thursday night for a new sculpture that hangs from the atrium ceiling.
The sculpture, named "Corpus Mirabile," was designed by artists Gregory Gomez and Peter Andruchow and commissioned as part of the Ohio Percent for Art Program.
In 1990, the Ohio Legislature passed a law requiring any new or renovated public building that receives more than $4 million in capital project funds to allocate at least 1 percent of those funds for original works of public art.
Ken Emerick, director of the Ohio Percent for Art Program, said the Ohio Arts Council had a "great experience" at Youngstown State University. After putting out an open call for public art project proposals, the college assembled a nine-member committee to review the submissions.
"Open-call projects are the most adventurous type of projects," Emerick said. "We had hundreds of submissions and a budget of over $100,000. But everything went very smoothly. This was a model situation for the program and a great example of how this program can work."
The committee narrowed the submissions to three finalists who were invited to tour the building. The finalists were then given six weeks to modify their designs to fit the space.
Gomez, a sculptor, painter and associate professor at Wheelock College, and Andruchow, a sculptor and metal artist who owns and operates Woven Steel Distinctive Iron Works in Boston, were chosen from the finalists.
"Corpus Mirabile" is meant to be a metaphor for the corporation, the designers said. The sculpture — made up of many parts working together and going through cycles — is an ever-expanding entity.
Additionally, its open surface, which reveals the strong inner structure, represents the importance of trust and transparency in business.
The Fibonacci numbers — a mathematical sequence in which each number is the sum of the previous two — inspired the designers. Fibonacci sequences often occur in nature — like the arrangement of leaves on a stem, the form of a shell or the shape of a pinecone.
"The piece is only based on the mathematical sequence," Andruchow said. "If we had built it with the correct math, it would have been sticking out of the ceiling. We were inspired by the mathematics, but we didn't feel like we had to be a slave to it."
Greg Moring, professor and acting chairman of the art department, noted the importance of public art projects and their ability to revitalize communities.
"The first thing you think of when you look at a piece of public art is the aesthetics … ‘Do I like it?'" Moring said. "But the second question most people ask is about the finances … ‘Who paid for it?'
There's often some resentment about public dollars spent on art. But it's important to separate those two questions and take the business investment into account."
Moring explained that many cities like Chicago, Columbus and New York have used an investment in public art to draw people and businesses back to disadvantaged and failing communities.
"These projects have a return like any other investment," Moring said. "Art creates a business opportunity because it creates places that people like to visit. We need to find a way to convince places like Youngstown to see art as an investment in the community."