Fall 2002 Magazine Archive & SearchMuhlenberg Home


Professor of Art



Taking strength from community:
An exploration of the ’Berg’s
community of artists


E ven as we recently marked the one-year anniversary of the events of September 11, it’s clear that this tragedy had a deep and profound effect on all of us.

In the wake of September 11, we had to reconsider our priorities in life and art. The students and faculty in the art department found many personal and private ways to consider the tragedy, but we also engaged in a very public one, which involved our whole community. In the days after September 11, until the end
of classes in December, we built 3,000 sculptures, which were placed in the
lobby of the Center for the Arts.

As I watched people of all different levels of skill and experience make the most moving and beautiful works, I was able to share in an ancient ritual of creation and meaning. From this encounter, I gained insight into the depth of the creative experience and the importance of community in all matters – personal and public.

Sandbags are packed around the bunker, which was created by Scott Sherk, with help from the Muhlenberg community, as part of the Center for Ethics fall series, “The Boundaries of Home: Patriotism in a Global Era.”

An artist must have those solitary hours in the studio, but working with others in public collaborations adds something very important to the art experience.

And, it was in keeping with this theme that last month I directed the construction of a public sculpture installation in the Baker Center for the Arts. As part of the Center for Ethics program, “The Boundaries of Home: Patriotism in a Global Era,” we created a sandbagged surveillance bunker in the Baker Center’s lobby.

We encouraged as many students as we could to help with filling sandbags and constructing the bunker. The bunker is big enough for two people to occupy and is equipped with surveillance cameras, which scan the immediate area, a television tuned to CNN and a computer wired to the Web.

As we sit in the bunker and reconnoiter with the world from the security of the sandbags, we are also under watch: a Web cam is mounted above the bunker and streams video of its occupants to the bunker Web site. I encourage interested alums to look for the site on the Center for Ethics page on the College Web site, www.muhlenberg.edu/cultural/ethics/patriotism.html.




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