New public art collection enriches Vincennes Campus

New public art collection enriches Vincennes Campus

Blue and white aluminum sculpture

April 29, 2022

VINCENNES, Ind. - Stepping onto the Vincennes University campus is like stepping into an outdoor art gallery.

A bright blue and white aluminum form stands prominently before the Center for Art and Design. The metallic sculpture, named Twisted Botanical Wave, is one of several new public art installations on the Vincennes Campus.

Abstract #29 greets individuals entering the Shake Learning Resource Center. It is a vivid green sculpture created with plastics, polyesters, epoxies, and fiberglass.

An expressive sculpture of a ballerina called Elli3 is made of bundled and welded steel rods. It is situated in a courtyard area in front of the Welsh Administration Building and Governor’s Hall.

All of the artworks can be viewed outdoors

“The sculptures bring life to the campus,” Law Enforcement major Spencer Savage said. “They add characteristics to the outside. They add another element to the nature side, and they draw in your eye. Instead of looking at a dull world every day when I’m walking to classes or going to work, I get to see something beautiful that draws my eye to something positive. It makes me think and wonder what the sculpture means.”

Abstract #29 is a sculpture located near an entrance to the Shake Learning Resource Center

The sculptures were recently installed on campus as part of a city-wide project. The First City Public Sculpture Exhibition began in 2020. More than 12 sculptures are located around Vincennes.

“Having installed sculptures around the campus is not only beneficial for the students, faculty, and staff population but for the surrounding community of Vincennes as a whole,” VU Art Professor Troy Aiken said.

Retired VU art professor and Art Space Vincennes gallery director Andy Jendrzejewski will lead an art discussion and tour of the VU sculptures on Friday, May 27 at 5:30 p.m. (ET). The talk begins at the Twisted Botanical Wave sculpture at the Center for Art and Design, 921 N. 3rd St., then moves to the Abstract #29 and Elli3 pieces.

A fourth sculpture will arrive on the Vincennes Campus in May, according to Jendrzejewski. The wood sculpture will be installed next to Beckes Student Union.

Jendrzejewski is a co-organizer of the First City Public Sculpture Exhibition along with retired VU art professor Amy DeLap. Together, they own Art Space Vincennes.

Elli3 is a sculpture located in a courtyard area near the Welsh Administration Building and Governor's Hall

The vibrant and unique works of art are enriching the beauty and character of the 200-plus acre Vincennes Campus with its classic architectural style juxtaposed with hyper-modern buildings.

“The sculptures draw you to the building,” Education major Gayle Baugh said. “The sculpture at the LRC livens it up because it is a bright color. It’s something interesting and new to look at. Bright colors on campus make it a happier campus. VU is very supportive of the arts and artists.”

Public art inspires observers to examine their world. Art also takes us to a different space and helps shape ideas.

“I believe public art is a very important aspect in helping to establish a community's identity,” Aiken said. “While everyone may not agree on whether or not public art is beneficial to enhancing the location that the art is placed in, I have seen mostly that it tends to bring people together and give them something to be proud about. At the very least it always starts a good conversation amongst community members.”

Art abounds on the Vincennes Campus and plays an important educational role at VU. There is Bernard Hagedorn’s large-scale sculpture at the entrance of the Red Skelton Performing Arts Center. Art is also prominently displayed in the Center for Art and Design and additional spaces throughout campus, including the Shircliff Art Gallery in the Shircliff Humanities Center, which hosts extraordinary collections, exhibitions, and special events, including monthly First Friday Art Walks.