U of A to make public art a top priority

One of the many things that makes Fayetteville such a great place to live is the art that surrounds us in so many different formats. From the vault gallery inside Fayetteville Underground to the walls of Arsaga’s and from Baum Walker Hall inside the Walton Arts Center to the tiny stage of Smoke & Barrel Tavern, we’re pretty art rich around here in comparison to our neighboring cities. But there’s always room for more, right?

Of course there is. And there will be soon thanks to University of Arkansas Chancellor G. David Gearhart. The Chancellor announced yesterday that he has commissioned a new public art oversight advisory committee tasked with increasing the amount of art available for public enjoyment.

In a recent report titled Transparency and Accountability to the People of Arkansas, Chancellor Gearhart cited the need to foster the arts on campus and throughout the region as a key goal to pursue aggressively through the university’s sesquicentennial in 2021.

“As an institution, we have always valued the arts,” said Gearhart, “and now we have an outstanding group of campus and community representatives who will help us to showcase our passion all around campus. In addition to the aesthetic enrichment art brings, the learning opportunities that will follow are priceless.”

“Courage to Lead” by Denny Haskew

The 14 committee members will serve a two-year term, and they will provide recommendations to the chancellor regarding all public art decisions on campus. They’ll also be charged with establishing processes and criteria for commissioning art and making recommendations for fundraising programs that will secure private gift support and gifts of artwork.

One of the most recognizable landmarks on campus and a shining example of public art is The Fulbright Peace Fountain, designed by Fay Jones which sits directly between Old Main and Vol Walker Hall.

Other public artwork on campus include the “Courage to Lead” bronze sculpture near Old Main, the sculpture in the courtyard of the School of Law, a statue on the fifth floor of Old Main, the physics mobile and the Calder mobile, among other smaller works dispersed throughout campus.

Here’s hoping to see some more art on campus sometime soon.