Over the summer, Tech became the temporary home of a fifteen piece sculpture exhibit. These sculptures will be here until June of next year, so admirers have plenty of time to ponder them. However, while these sculptures, especially the towering La Tour by John Henry, grab one’s attention, they are still merely visitors here.
Although Tech’s artistic flare has only come to the center of the campus spotlight in recent months, it has never been completely absent. Over the years, students began to find their own ways to show off their artistic ability outside of the classroom.
To find the true artistic spirit of Tech, one must wander the campus and see things that are so visible that they are never even noticed. For example, the campus is overrun with student-created depictions of Buzz, especially near the Manufacturing and Mechanical Engineering buildings; school spirit is clearly one of the easiest and most relatable ways for students to channel their aesthetic talents. However, while this theme is campus wide, there are other works of art that are more spontaneous in their creation.
Take the first floor of Klaus, home to a reception area stocked with recycling and trash bins. However, these are no ordinary recycling and trash bins. Several years ago, a few students threw down the mantle of the artistically tone-deaf engineer, and made the entire area into a Pokémon mural, complete with several Pokémon lounging around and picking up plastic bottles and other recyclables.
The creativity does not end here. Throughout the year, various clubs, organizations and individuals decide that they need to advertise an event, and what better method to use than the sidewalk, the superhighway of student transportation.
What will survive is the artistic spirit that has been with Tech since its beginning.
These chalk advertisements range from simplistic words stating only what is necessary to impressive frescoes and elaborate depictions. During Homecoming week, though, these advertisements give way to whimsical drawings as people compete to outweigh each other on the artistic scales.
In addition to these displays of art, Tech offers many clubs and outlets for students who are artistically inclined. VGDev and Gourd Art, both associated with the College of Computing, are two groups of this type.
VGDev focuses on video game development. This includes storyboarding and drawing the characters, in addition to the actual coding of the game mechanics. In a more traditional arena, Gourd Art is the campus-wide art group. They are often asked by other student organizations to design posters, and even participate in charity-based art marathons.
For more hands-on artistic experience, on the third floor of the Student Center is Paper & Clay, a place for the artistic to get supplies and to work in the company of like-minded individuals.
There are also several opportunities throughout the year for students to compete artistically. Campus Movie Fest and the Clough Commons Art Crawl are two of the biggest specimens of this variety of artistic expression.
This is not to say that every student at Tech is secretly an artist. There are many more groups that simply admire art. Anime O-Tekku and the Student Western Animation Group both view and discuss the various forms of animated series.
Given enough time, any art installation can become a part of the personality of Tech. This incorporation might be years in the making, like the traditional ice-cream statue decorating, or it could be that everyone wakes up one morning, and there is a Pokémon wall. Either way, these pieces of art became part of Tech because students took the initiative.
While the new sculpture exhibits are a pleasure to behold, all 15 pieces of art will vanish next summer, and few will recognize their absence. What will survive is the artistic spirit that has been with Tech since its beginning, despite any stereotypes that Tech students have the aesthetic capabilities of a robot. Art is expression, and it only takes a walk around campus to realize that our students have quite a lot to say.