Griffin Center sculpture approved

Two art professors designed art for the conference center with campus nature in mind.

This+design+illustrates+Joan+Kempf+deJong+and+John+McNaughton%E2%80%99s+proposed+sculpture+for+the+Griffin+Center%2C+titled+%E2%80%9CBent+Twig.%E2%80%9D
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Griffin Center sculpture approved

This design illustrates Joan Kempf deJong and John McNaughton’s proposed sculpture for the Griffin Center, titled “Bent Twig.”

This design illustrates Joan Kempf deJong and John McNaughton’s proposed sculpture for the Griffin Center, titled “Bent Twig.”

Photo courtesy of Joan deJong

This design illustrates Joan Kempf deJong and John McNaughton’s proposed sculpture for the Griffin Center, titled “Bent Twig.”

Photo courtesy of Joan deJong

Photo courtesy of Joan deJong

This design illustrates Joan Kempf deJong and John McNaughton’s proposed sculpture for the Griffin Center, titled “Bent Twig.”

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Liberal Arts Assistant Dean Joan Kempf deJong and John McNaughton, professor emeritus of art, had fun creating twists and turns for USI’s campus.

The Art Collection Committee approved the two art professors’ proposal to build a sculpture titled “Bent Twig” in front of the Griffin Center, the  conference center under construction across Reflection Lake.

deJong and McNaughton  submitted “Bent Twig,” which originates from the university road of the same name, as a proposal to the art committee as part of a contest.

The sculpture, which will be built  in front of the center, consists of branches, leaves and twigs, and McNaughton said the shape reflects both the present and future of the university.

“I wanted to capture campus, but every artist wants to reflect what’s inside of them,” McNaughton said. “I’m proud of this university and the time that I’ve spent here.”

The committee set  specific guidelines for the selected sculpture.

“(The judges) wanted the sculpture to reflect the positive nature of the university,” McNaughton said. “They wanted it to be large, but not too large. We were very sympathetic to the look of the building, how people will view it from the parking lot, maintenance of it and the safety of it.”

Contestants needed to be either past or current  students or faculty to enter.

deJong and McNaughton  decided to enter two different proposals, which they submitted anonymously.

Art Commission Registrar Susan Sauls said the committee looked for quality installation and quality design in the 10 entries it had to choose from.

The art proposals had to fit within a $50,000 budget.

Sauls said selecting the art was a process of elimination.

“We were looking for something aesthetically pleasing, imaginative and innovative,” she said.  “Something that had a natural vision to it.

deJong said the sculpture will have a positive effect on the university.

“Art on campus is powerful for all students,” deJong said, “not just art students.”

A ribbon-cutting ceremony for “Bent Twig” is scheduled for May 6.

Gabi Wy contributed to this story.

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