Student artwork enhances the aesthetics of Bridgeway Commons

September 3, 2013

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Student artwork in Bridgeway

PLATTEVILLE, Wis. —University of Wisconsin-Platteville student artwork was so well received in the university’s Rountree Commons residence hall that it has been included in its newest residence hall, Bridgeway Commons.

“Including student artwork is a creative way of enhancing aesthetics and connecting university buildings to the campus community,” said Bill Kloster, director of the UW-Platteville Real Estate Foundation. “It was highly successful at Rountree Commons, so it was logical to extend the idea to Bridgeway Commons. We hope to continue using our students’ artwork in additional university buildings, including the library, residence halls and more.”

Students in the Studies in Art I: Art for Public Places course, taught by UW-Platteville art lecturer Bruce Howdle, and students in Crafts II: Fibers and Fabrics course, taught by UW-Platteville art lecturer Carole Spelic', created the projects.

Students in Howdle’s course contributed 22 pieces, including five sculptures, a collection of eight pastels of fruit and food, a large sketch of Ralph E. Davis, a large clay portrait of Pioneers and seven abstract paintings.

Howdle’s group included UW-Platteville students Austin Glendenning of Darlington, Wis.; Jacklyn Baumgart of De Pere, Wis.; Corey Jenny of Platteville, Wis.; Robert Jinkins of Rewey, Wis.; Brandon Marteny of Milton, Wis.; Michael Ward of Camby, Ind.; Cameron Doerr of McFarland, Wis.; and Erik Schlicher of Platteville. Kathrine Prohaska of Milton, Wis., and Michael Prohaska of Pewaukee, Wis., both in Howdle’s course, assisted with the organization and installation of the artwork.

Students in the course taught by Spelic' contributed four projects, including a quilt made of T-shirts, a three-panel representation of a flowering tree, a seated figure made of plaster of paris and a wall hanging with free-hanging sculptural elements.

Her group included UW-Platteville students Carissa Wolf of Lancaster, Wis.; Holly Brimeyer of Dubuque, Iowa; Elizabeth Tanner of Gays Mills, Wis.; Searra Maas of Dubuque; Rebecca Kinstler of La Crescent, Minn.; Emily Haverland of Potosi, Wis.; Lynea Axelson of Oregon, Ill.; Haley Hurst of Mayville, Wis.; Blair Lingk of Dodgeville, Wis.; Kyle Martin of Reedsburg, Wis.; Abigail VanOrden of Butternut, Wis.; and Sara Zinkle of Platteville.

Each artist submitted a statement outlining his or her vision for the piece, which is installed near the art.

“My sculpture shows what I believe to be the culmination of my education in the UW-Platteville art department,” said Glendenning. “It incorporates all aspects of the art curriculum I have studied, from my introduction some four years ago to the end of my senior year.”

“It contributes to the ideas of form, space, fluidity and proportion, to name a few,” Glendenning continued. “It was completed utilizing skills such as sketching, sculpting, mold making, concrete pouring and polishing. This sculpture is a gift to the University of Wisconsin-Platteville and it is my hope that this final product pays homage to the perseverance and professionalism of its faculty.”

“Using UW-Platteville student artwork in our buildings makes a strong, positive statement about the exemplary quality of art students we have at this university,” said Howdle. “We believe in our students and in their artistic abilities.”

“This has been an extraordinary opportunity for students to create a timeless work of art that enhances the beauty of the interior or exterior of a university building,” Howdle said. “They can include these pieces in their art portfolios, which will help them obtain employment or get accepted into graduate or art school.”

“This experience gave the students the opportunity to commission a piece of their artwork before they have completed their undergraduate degree,” Howdle added. “That’s amazing. This learning experience will clearly help them enter the public sector, which can be highly competitive.”

“Bruce and I are honored that the university allowed us to take on a project of this magnitude,” said Spelic'. “It was an excellent way to bring attention to our art students as well as our art program. Students worked in teams and it was fascinating to see how they adapted to each other, learning about aesthetics and functionality as well as human and industrial elements from each other as they were working.”

“This was experiential learning at its finest – very similar to an internship,” Spelic' said. “During the process, students observed the physical spaces where their pieces of art would be placed and then let those spaces help inform their decisions about what to create. Once they had decided what to create, they manipulated the materials and created a product that could be interpreted in many different ways – a product that they and others could enjoy and appreciate.”

“By the time the projects were completed and installed, the students had been through the process of planning and executing a project from start to finish,” Spelic' noted. “In addition, they experienced the unique feeling of donating the special art project they had so carefully created to their university. The act of giving away a piece of art that you have created so that others can enjoy its beauty for years to come is a remarkable thing.”

Geri Zauche, UW-Platteville facilities designer, along with the building architects and interior designers from Plunkett Raysich Architects, LLP, worked closely with the instructors and students as the client representative, giving the students guidance in the flavor of the work to be implemented.

“It was important for the students to remember that these works were created for Bridgeway Commons and to create works that were appropriate for the space,” said Zauche. "Giving the students the opportunity to have their commissions installed for real clients not only is a great opportunity for their portfolios, but it shows the university's dedication to the UW-Platteville art students and enriches these and other spaces with some amazing works."

Students were not required to fund any of their projects. The UW-Platteville Pioneer Academic Center for Community Engagement contributed a grant worth nearly $9,000 to the student artwork project. In addition, the College of Liberal Arts and Education and its alumni board each donated $1,000 and the UW-Platteville Real Estate Foundation contributed $2,000. CD Smith Construction Services helped install the large Ralph E. Davis piece and assisted by providing mounting material for the larger pieces. In addition, a variety of UW-Platteville organizations and individuals donated T-shirts for the quilt.

Contacts: Bill Kloster, UW-Platteville Real Estate Foundation, klosterw@uwplatt.edu; Bruce Howdle, art lecturer, (608) 342-1228, howdleb@uwplatt.edu; or Carole Spelic', art lecturer, (608) 342-7301, spelicc@uwplatt.edu

Written by: Laurie A. Hamer, College of Liberal Arts and Education, (608) 342-6191, hamerl@uwplatt.edu

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