Campus features many distinctive landmarks

Michelle Bender

Four creations on Kent State’s campus make it unique

Kent State has a campus that can surprise people at every turn. If students know where to look, they can find things no other university has.

Some landmarks unique to Kent State include the Rock, the May 4 Memorial, Tilt 2005 and the Partially Buried Woodshed.

The Rock

The Rock is located at the bottom of Hilltop Drive facing Main Street and has been a Kent State tradition for many years, as students often paint it.ÿSororities and fraternities most often paint the Rock, but anyone is permitted to decorate it.

Dean Miller, an alumnus of Alpha Tau Omega, said he has painted the Rock at least 100 different times, if not more.

“We paint it to celebrate occasions, show off milestones during pledging, or just for the heck of it,” Miller said.

Miller said one of the sororities on campus paints the Rock every May 4 in remembrance of a sister who was shot during the protest. He also said there is a rumor that every four or five years geology students take a core sample of the Rock to find out how many layers of paint there are and how far down the actual rock is.

Miller advises freshmen pledgers to practice before painting the Rock.

“The first time out it gets done wrong every time,” Miller said. “Paint it as much as possible.”

May 4 Memorial

One of the most poignant landmarks is the May 4 Memorial.ÿThe memorial, which was dedicated May 4, 1990, is located by Taylor Hall and was designed by Bruno Ast.

Jerry Lewis, emeritus professor of sociology, said Ast’s design was chosen out of more than 700 designs that were submitted to a committee.ÿ

Lewis said Ast actually came in second, but was chosen because the first-place winner was not an American citizen.ÿHe also said the May 4 Memorial came in second to the Vietnam Memorial for number of submissions.

The primary memorial consists of granite blocks on a hillside and in a plaza. The words “Inquire,” “Learn” and “Reflect” are engraved on the ground in the area.

In the Prentice Hall parking lot, markers indicate where the four students who died, fell. These markers are lit every night to symbolize a permanent vigil.

Lewis said it is important for students to think about the markers in relation to where the National Guard actually stood and the distance between the two.

“(What is important for freshmen to know) is the notion of inquire, learn and reflect and the whole idea expressed in those three words,” Lewis said. “Find out what happened, learn about it and reflect on it and what it means to you all these years later.”

Tilt 2005

One landmark first-time visitors to Kent State may notice right away is Tilt 2005 by Steven Siegel. The sculpture is located in front of the Art Building, and from a distance looks like a strangely shaped rock.ÿIt is actually made of stacked newspapers, and it has plants growing on top.

According to the Tilt 2005 brochure, the work involved 75 students in the School of Art, and it was done while Siegel was an artist-in-residence at Kent State.

“It was an opportunity to bring in a scholar to work with the students,” director of galleries Anderson Turner said. “It was a cool project for the kids.”

Turner said the material used in the sculpture was chosen because it is constantly changing and the whole sculpture is meant to degrade.

Partially Buried Woodshed

A hidden treasure sometimes forgotten about on campus is the Partially Buried Woodshed, located near the Liquid Crystal Institute. All that is left of the original woodshed is concrete in the ground.

The landmark’s designer, Robert Smithson, is known for his different artistic projects such as the Spiral Jetty and various mud-pouring projects.

Turner said when Smithson came to Kent State to do a project he originally wanted to do a mud pour. Because it was winter, the mud wouldn’t flow properly, and Smithson abandoned that idea.

According to the exhibition catalog, Smithson had truckloads of dirt loaded onto the structure until it collapsed. The idea was for the woodshed to create its own history through its contact with natural elements and its stages of decomposition.

“Robert Smithson is one of the most important artists of the last 100 years and Kent State has something by him,” Turner said.

Contact School of Art reporter Michelle Bender at [email protected].