A joint project between the Library and the Art and Design Department has been made possible with a generous donation by Dr. and Mrs. Walter R. Graham Jr., M.D. that will fund student designed sculptures.
On the east side of the second floor of the Library there is a delightful reading alcove donated several years ago by Dr. Graham and named in memory of his mother, Rachel J. Graham. With the new Library Commons renovation the area is now one of the special features of the second floor. This reading and study alcove is surrounded on three sides by huge windows so the area is open and inviting. Outside on two sides there are large planting boxes but plants will not grow there due to the lack of water and direct sunlight. Library Dean, Dr. Elizabeth Curry and Dr. Graham brainstormed the possibility of installing art work in these outside spaces.
The donation made by the Walter and Cynthia Graham will fund the materials for the two sculptures plus an award to the artist. Art professor Jennifer Hager organized the project and enthusiastically involved her sculpture class in the project so they could get “real-life” experience. Each student presented their design concept, budget and scale model to a committee that included Dr. Graham, Dr. Debra Murphy, Chair of the Art and Design Department, Dr. Curry, Library Dean, Courtney McLeland, Librarian and Art Liaison and Rhonda Gracie, Horticulturist in Physical Facilities. Thanks to the students who participated: Cal Cook designed “Input/Output,” Ramona Harmes designed “ Tumbling Books-Waves of Knowledge,” Stephen Pane designed “Knowledge & Light,” Emily Pinnell designed “Fish Stories,” Dane Pinks designed “Monolith Blue,” and Michael Quatromoni designed “Diversity & Transformation.”
Mary Ratcliff was the student with the winning design. She is a junior at UNF, majoring in fine arts with a concentration in sculpture and a minor in professional education. Her artwork often consists of unique, dynamic forms often displaying an accompanying colorful palette. She finds inspirations from nature and applies these natural, organic influences into her work. The winning designs, Connection n. and Connect v., two site-specific works, were designed to bring life and energy into the vacant area outside the library. The two large-scale metal sculptures are inspired by the complexities of the brain, focusing on the connections of neurons and neural networks. The concept of “connections” also serves as a metaphor for valuing and building relationships and a network of colleagues, instructors, and professionals during one’s educational journey.