By Whitney Hale
(March 10, 2016) — What is the role of public art in an educational environment? How should we engage with our institutional past, in terms of art already at the University of Kentucky, and any proposed future projects? Who decides about public art on campus and how is the university community involved in the process?
Those questions and more will be explored by experts in the fields of art, education and arts administration at the campus forum "Art in Public Places." The free public event will run from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Monday, March 21, at the UK Athletics Auditorium in the William T. Young Library.
"Visual art on a university campus can be stimulating or baffling or boring, or combinations of all three at different times. You never know what will catch your attention and make you think and feel. Permanent or temporary, large or small, historical or contemporary, made by a student or an acclaimed artist — we should aspire to a robust set of public art offerings that are extensions of the classroom, with all the rigor and thoughtfulness we expect of a higher educational context," said Stuart Horodner, director of UK Art Museum.
"Art in Public Places" will be moderated by Horodner, and will include the following panelists:
· Jim Clark, executive director of Ashland, the Henry Clay Estate;
· Melynda Price, director of the UK African American and Africana Studies Program and the Robert E. Harding Jr. Professor of Law;
· Arturo Alonzo Sandoval, Alumni Endowed Professor of Art at the UK School of Art and Visual Studies; and
· Richard Schein, professor and chair of the UK Department of Geography.
Benjamin C. Withers, associate provost for Undergraduate Education and dean for Undergraduate Studies, hopes this event will get the campus talking about public art and its benefits to a university. "Through the campus forum we wish to facilitate a dialogue in UK community about how a more sustained, intentional and strategic approach to art in public places improves the educational environment. A sustained and robust public art program engages with our institutional past and helps form the way we see ourselves in the future; it should represent the diversity of perspectives and viewpoints and promote conversations."
Andrew Hippisley, director of the UK Linguistics Program and chair of University Senate Council, agrees that art on a university campus should also serve an educational purpose. "If the framing of public art is a university, public art moves beyond merely decorative to pedagogical. The forum will engage faculty, amongst others, in considering a more deliberative and intentional approach to public art that both aligns with UK's mission of teaching and learning, and is informed by UK's primary educators, the faculty."