New Sculpture Garden Beginning to Take Root at Armstrong

(Dec. 10, 2013) The seeds have been planted for Armstrong's new Sculpture Garden, located in the Fine Arts Annex Courtyard near the university's police station.

Nestled between the Ceramics Annex and the Student Recreation Center, the Sculpture Garden is currently taking shape under the creative direction of Armstrong's longtime ceramics professor John Jensen. The project officially began when the department received an anonymous $20,000 donation two years ago to build an outdoor pagoda and garden. The overall theme of the Sculpture Garden is “life in all its various forms.”

Professor Jensen saw the potential to transform a neglected corner of campus — which once served as a plant maintenance facility — into a vibrant celebration of student creativity. Today, newly-planted plum, Chinese cherry and persimmon plants grace the grassy outdoor space. Professor Jensen and adjunct professor Sharon “Mac” McCusker plan to add a hand-painted student mural to one of the walls framing the garden area as well as a Gargoyle Garden and exterior lighting.

The Sculpture Garden currently includes two impressive hand-crafted student works: a life-sized raku alligator by Nancy Fountain and Kay McCartney and a patina ceramic octopus by Dayna Anderson and Jane Pruitt. Both sculptures are located adjacent to a Japanese-inspired wooden pagoda.

“It's truly an honor to have work included in Armstrong's new Sculpture Garden,” says Visual Arts major Dayna Anderson. “The garden is really taking shape and offers a beautiful, meditative outdoor space for students to enjoy throughout the year.”

Professor Jensen reviews sculpture for inclusion in the garden and has been impressed by undergraduate enthusiasm for the project.

“I'm trying to keep it open-ended so students can have ideas and submit proposals,” he says. “The intent is to celebrate student work. We'll keep adding to the Sculpture Garden over time.”

How much work does Professor Jensen plan to include in Armstrong's new Sculpture Garden? “A lot,” he laughs. “The more, the better!”