Look Up: What art those sculptures?


A quick visit to the Benton and Oak hall to view some of UConn's artwork. Tours run every other Wednesday at 12:15 pm. (Jonathan Sammis/The Daily Campus)

A quick visit to the Benton and Oak hall to view some of UConn’s artwork. Tours run every other Wednesday at 12:15 pm. (Jonathan Sammis/The Daily Campus)

The University of Connecticut’s William Benton Museum of Art hosted its LOOK-UP Campus Sculpture tour this past Wednesday.

Many students walk by large, colorful pieces of art everyday, but few probably take the time to observe these various sculptures around campus. Lead by docent Kathy James-Stebbins, she guided the walking tour group on a relaxed, illuminating excursion.

William Shakespeare’s First Folio was the first stop. While it is not a sculpture, it still holds great literary artistic merit. Here from the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington D.C., the folio will be displayed to the public until Sunday, Sept. 25. One of 235 original copies today, this folio celebrates the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death. Use this rare opportunity to observe a four-centuries-old artifact.

The first of the sculptures was Sharon Louden’s “Merge,” in the lobby ceiling of Oak Hall. At first glance, it may just look like many pieces of aluminum strips placed over each other; however, there is much more than meets the eye. Built using 100,000 strips of aluminum and 10,000 steel-brass taps, “Merge” presents the image of a flowing river and waterfall.

“Louden was attempting to combine human elements with nature,” Stebbins explained.

One commonly ignored sculpture is Robert Perless’ “Mobius Solaris.” Located just outside the Student Union’s balcony, the “Mobius Solaris” displays three edges, a single plane that reflects light through prisms and a heliostat. This heliostat will record and track the sunlight throughout the course of the day and rotate the sculpture to maximize the rainbow effect of the prisms.

With so much art on campus, you would think that the sculptures are well known. On the other hand, people are so engrossed either by their phones or class time constraints that they don’t even notice that they passed by a few sculptures.

“Whenever I’m not on my phone, I do notice the sculptures,” first-semester student Patrick Relator said. “But I do question why they’re there.”

During the tour, Stebbins discussed the funding for UConn’s fine arts. “During the 1980s, the State Legislature decided to dedicate a percent of money to art at UConn,” explained Stebbins.

Of course, there are many more sculptures around campus. Next time you’re outside, take some time to look up and find some sculptures to explore. Absorb all the art you see because UConn gives students the chance to view it on a daily basis, they just have to look up.

Kevin Li is a campus correspondent for the Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at kevin.li@uconn.edu.

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