The heART of Kent

Caitlin Sirse

Imagine this: You’re beginning your college journey as an incoming freshman, or you’re back in Kent for the first time since last semester.

You begin walking along the Esplanade from The Student Center toward downtown Kent. You pass the M.A.C. Center and the giant pile of crumbling newspapers in front of the Art Building. As you cross Terrace Drive, you may look to your right and see the giant brain and stone bookshelves.

You’re not thinking about much –where the next party will be, how much homework you already have, where to buy your books the cheapest.

Now, you pass the psychology building and begin to approach Hilltop Drive and you see a giant piece of silver near Cartwright Hall. You may ask yourself: Is that a spaceship?

As you get closer, you realize it has eyes, so it cannot possibly be a spaceship. If it’s not a spaceship, is it a couple of the little aliens they left behind?

Nope. It’s art.

Kent is now embarking on its latest initiative to bring the campus and community together through the Sculpture Mile –a project commissioned by the Ohio Art Council, which requires 1 percent of state funds of $4 million to be spent on building renovations go toward installing art.

As more sculptures are scheduled to be installed near Franklin Hall and beside the Esplanade on Terrace Drive, I’ve heard a little bit of excitement and a whole lot of skepticism: Can’t Kent State find something better to spend that money on? What’s the point of this art?

At times, it’s easy for students to think Kent State is draining them for all of the money they have sometimes, especially when we see seemingly pointless things being added to campus –we might consider the giant posters on the library, M.A.C. Center and Recreation and Wellness Center as examples of pointless.

Lucky for us, it is not coming out of students’ pockets.

Now, imagine this: You’re walking by Franklin Hall. There’s a 10-foot obscured shape in your path. You can’t help but look –maybe stare. You have two options.

One: Keep walking. Or, two: Stop. Read (the plaque). Wonder.

Whether it inspires you or disgusts you, it most likely took you out of your mundane routine, at least for a few moments, to get Kent State students and faculty, residents and visitors thinking.

Despite knowledge of art, everyone is capable of enjoying these pieces and taking advantage of what these pieces will mean for the campus and community. For starters, they will expand the campus’ main sidewalk to the downtown businesses.

All too often, students get trapped in the little bubble that is Kent State without exploring what is Kent, Ohio.

Likewise, Kent residents spend time downtown or hop in their car to get from one side of town to the other, not always considering walking or biking through campus.

These pieces aren’t just here for decoration. They’re here to draw peoples’ attention, bring a community closer through an unconventional method and, most importantly, make them think about not only the campus, but also the community around them.

So, why not take a break from reality? Walk around campus and downtown and explore something new.

Caitlin Sirse is a graduate student and columnist for the Summer Kent Stater.Contact her at [email protected].