BOONE — Sculpture has long been a dynamic feature on the Appalachian State University campus, and in late August a new collection of seven sculptures created by artists from across North Carolina was installed as part of the first phase. of a Campus Arts Corridor.
The sculptures originate from the Turchin Center for the Visual Arts on King Street and extend to the App State campus along a public art trail.
The Campus Arts Corridor concept was born out of a desire to visibly connect App State’s arts-related venues. Two of the main university arts centers – the Turchin Center for the Visual Arts and the Schaefer Center for the Performing Arts – are located on either side of campus with many arts-related buildings located between these two hubs. The Schaefer Center is App State’s state-of-the-art, 1,660-seat venue and home to a host of on-campus and community events, as well as guest artists from across the region, country, and world.
The Valborg Theater houses the main stage of the University Theatre; Chapel Wilson Hall houses the theater and dance department; Wey Hall contains the art department; and the Broyhill Music Center is home to the Hayes School of Music. The Turchin Center for the Visual Arts offers six vibrant galleries with changing exhibitions of contemporary artwork by national and international artists, as well as the region’s best local artists.
The Campus Arts Corridor builds on more than three decades of outdoor sculpture programming at the university and strongly supports the efforts of the City of Boone and surrounding communities to feature outdoor art in public spaces. The corridor will play an important role in positioning the campus and community as a vibrant and dynamic arts and cultural destination drawing visitors to campus and engaging them in the multifaceted life of the university. The hallway will support the university’s educational mission by serving as an outdoor classroom for students of all ages, as well as the public, and enhancing learning opportunities through the visual arts.
Located on King Street at the crossroads of Appalachian State University and downtown Boone, the Turchin Center anchors the arts corridor and serves as a hub between campus and community and provides a connection to public art initiatives from the city. The iconic Transit Candy staircase mural located on the grand staircase adjacent to the main entrance of the Turchin Center serves as the starting point for the hallway. Painted in the summer of 2020 by Baltimore artists Jessie Underhalter and Katey Truhn, the mural is inspired by regional textiles. The dynamic, geometric design extends from the top of the grand 36-step staircase, flows to the bottom of the steps, and ends in a fringed edge as one might find on a rug.
The sculptors represented in the arts corridor all reside in North Carolina and what unites their work is that the pieces embrace re-emergence and transformation in the wake of the pandemic; social unity, connection and community building; or the hopes and dreams of a more equitable world.
Adjacent to the staircase mural and beside the entrance to the Turchin Center conference room, Beau Lyday’s ‘Will the Circle be Unbroken’ consists of two beautiful wooden benches connected by hanging circles that embrace benches and form a lunar gate. The circle is a universal symbol used by most religions and cultures and symbolizes vitality, wholeness, completion and perfection – a symbol of infinity, with no beginning or end. This beautifully weathered intimate seating area invites rest, reflection and connection.
After 40 years in the furniture business, Lyday left to devote himself to metal and wood carving. He believes that being an artist is something one is born to do and does not necessarily require a formal art degree. His major influences are Gothic and Middle Eastern architecture, Celtic symbols and sacred geometry.
The sculpture by Mike Roig consists of an undulating stainless steel main section surmounted by a cast iron winged female figure that emerges from a chrysalis that protects and embraces her, much as a chrysalis protects an emerging butterfly. It symbolizes its re-emergence and its transformation reinforced by the kinetic aspect of the sculpture which pirouettes gently on its axis. The sculpture is aptly named “Chrysalis”.
Roig has been making sculptures for over 35 years and in his studio in Carrboro, North Carolina for over twenty years. A graduate of the University of Maryland Fine Arts program, he is best known for his kinetic sculpture. Her work is found in public and private collections nationwide, with the highest concentration here in the Mid-Atlantic region.
Hanna Jubran, Grimesland, North Carolina
The “Sounds of the Elements” sculpture by Hanna Jubran of Grimesland, NC is a striking stainless steel, bronze, and aluminum sculpture that visually leads people around campus. The work is part of a series of sculptures that reflect the four elements, Earth, Water, Fire and Wind of our universe, from the micro to the macro level. Representative of the wind, Sounds of the Elements creates delicate chimes when activated by the wind.
Jubran earned his MFA in sculpture from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and is currently a professor of sculpture at East Carolina University in Greenville, North Carolina. His work addresses the notions of time, movement, balance and space. Each sculpture occupies and creates its own reality influenced by its immediate environment.
Carl Billingsley, Greensboro, North Carolina
The vibrant colors of the painted steel structure of Carl Billingsley’s “Double Wedge” create a striking sculpture that is a play on simple geometric shapes. At first glance, the halves seem separated and precariously balanced, but in fact they are quite strong due to a supportive bond between the two halves and symbolize the need to find balance in our cultural relationships.
While living in Germany as a child, Billingsley discovered the world of museums, cities, cathedrals, monuments and sculpture. Billingsley began as a carpentry shop technician in the School of Architecture and Urban Planning at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and later in his career served as a professor and coordinator of the sculpture program at the School. of Art and Design from East Carolina University. in North Carolina. Billingsley believes that strong work will be recognized regardless of location and culture and that artists should be able to communicate with their work even if they do not share language, culture, time and place with their audience.
Jonathan Pellitteri, Charlotte, North Carolina
Nestled against the library building, Jonathan Pellitteri’s sculpture, “Bancing at New Heights”, is small in size but big in scale. The two tapering concrete staircases are punctuated by empty chairs on the upper tread and act as a cue for viewers to project themselves into the work. The sculpture is an allegory for two people seeking fulfillment while following different life paths. The position of the chairs facing each other underscores the need for dialogue between those on opposite paths, which, in times of heightened communal and national tensions, is more important than ever.
Pelliteri is based in Charlotte, North Carolina. Her studio practice focuses on sculptural objects that combine an appreciation for craftsmanship with a curiosity for materials and a desire to tell stories. His works have been exhibited in numerous museums and galleries in the United States and parts of Europe, and are included in numerous public, private and corporate collections.
Jessica Bradsher, Greenville, North Carolina
Jessica Bradsher’s sculpture “Pegasus Landing” is set in an open lawn. This winged horse, made of tubular steel, is light and airy and looks like it just took off from the surrounding mountain peaks. Created while the artist was completing her thesis on the theme of empathy, she believes outdoor sculpture work is integral to the re-emergence and transformation of our country and the world.
Bradsher is a visual artist specializing in metal sculpture and painting who lives and works in Greenville, North Carolina. She creates with themes ranging from whimsical to contemplative in her outdoor sculptural pieces. In her most recent series, she explores the idea of encouraging the practice of empathy in our society. Bradsher received his MFA in 2018 from East Carolina University and currently teaches visual arts at John Paul II Catholic High School in Greenville. She believes it is important to be an example to her students of a productive, hard-working and successful artist in order to show the next generation the possibilities of the arts.
Kevin Vanek, Greensboro, North Carolina
Kevin Vanek’s vibrant sculpture, “LOUD!” is meant to grab attention while being a literal spokesperson for unknown voices, including the LGBTQIA+ community, black and brown people, women in male-dominated spaces, the poor, people with disabilities, youth, the elderly and any other disenfranchised or marginalized voice. The artist believes that through his art he can give voice to those who are often unknown in the art world.
Vanek is a dedicated caster and artist, striving to combine contemporary concepts with traditional techniques. Through the hard work and meticulous problem solving necessary for metal art, they craft one-of-a-kind reliquaries. Vanek is able to work intuitively to create physical objects that function as stand-ins for their own struggles such as mental health issues, class/race/gender equality, the plight of the working class, the burden of humanity on the world and other complex societal issues. . Vanek is the foundry manager and faculty member at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. They earned a BFA from Bowling Green State University in 2010 and an MFA from East Carolina University in 2013.
These seven sculptures will be on campus for two years. For more information, visitors are invited to scan the QR code present on the signage next to each sculpture, go to tcva.org or stop by the Turchin Center for a carving guide.