New art sculptures on campus

Five new art pieces are now on campus. This piece was installed September 2018. Pictured is "Navajo Lady" by Robert Lanberson.

Washburn’s campus is home to many sculptures and art features. The 23rd Annual Outdoor Sculpture Exhibition is from Sept. 2018 to Aug. 2019.

Since 1996, Washburn has hosted a yearly outdoor sculpture competition, hosted by Washburn Campus Beautification Committee.

“Art inspires us to think about our world in a whole new way,” said Connie Gibbons, director of Mulvane Art Museum. “When I live somewhere, it’s usually art that I remember about the place, which defines who we are.”

The exhibit has seven pieces, including “To Focus” by Ben Pierce, “Butterfly Brigade” by M.J. Lanberson, “Navajo Lady” by Robert Lamberson, “Gentle” by Shohini Ghosh, “Miller II” by Rollin Karg, “Lake Cloud Sky” by Kathyrose Pizzo and “Sea Glade I” by Cathy Perry.

“Artists submit art works with photos and description every year around May 31 from Kansas, around the country and occasionally abroad,” said Rugena Hall, member of the Campus Beautification Committee. “One artist can submit up to five pieces of work which must be completed.”

The jury selects seven works to be exhibited. This year, it includes five pieces on Washburn’s campus and two pieces on Washburn Tech’s campus. The jurors include chair of the Washburn art department, professors from Kansas State University, professors from University of Kansas and artists from Dallas. 

The committee pays artists $1,500 honorarium. The artists are responsible for delivering the pieces to Washburn and picking it up.

The sculptures were delivered in August and installed in September. These dates are new this year. In previous years, the sculptures were delivered in July. Presented in September, the sculptures can be enjoyed all year on campus.

“Sculptures balance academia and art on campus,” said Sydney Haugh, junior art history major. “It makes our campus more dynamic, instead of just buildings.”

In addition to the one-year sculptures, there are many permanent art pieces exhibited on campus. The Mulvane Art Museum and Washburn University own more than 4,000 art objects including sculptures, paintings, prints, photographs and decorative art. Over 20 sculptures are located on campus, including the Rita Bitt Gallery and Sculpture Garden.

“It makes our space where we live and work more interesting, more inviting and more engaging,” said Gibbons. “It encourages to explore space and think about our space in a different way.”

Some of the representative pieces are “Tracker” by Michael Hager between Garvey and Union, “Interdependence” by Yuyu Yang in front of the Mulvane Art Museum, “Continuum” by Jon Havener at Mulvane courtyard and “My Friend” by Rita Blitt in the Rita Blitt Sculpture Garden.

Everyone walking around campus can enjoy these art pieces.

“If you walk by a building, you definitely look at them [sculptures] and it’s cool to have something to look at,” said Lexie Chavez, junior physical therapist assistant major.

Students’ lives are more than academics. The sculptures on campus give them the opportunity to explore more aspects of life.

“It helps with generating creativity,” said Zane Phillips, freshman exploratory student. 

For additional information about art works on campus, visit the Washburn Outdoor Sculpture page.