Sculpture at university reflects vocational education value

HOPE, Ark. (AP) – Judy Wright Walter’s new sculpture at the University of Arkansas at Hope-Texarkana symbolizes the power of education.

Recently dedicated at the Hope campus in honor of the college’s five-decade anniversary, Walter’s sculpture, titled “Education: The Window to a Better World,” was crafted by this Hope native who, when she was growing up, knew the importance of a vocational education that could include welding, car repair and similar subjects to give students important knowledge for success in the workplace.

Said Walter in a statement about the piece, “The two inspirations in the design of the art piece were commemorating the growth of the college over the past 50 years and honoring some of the college’s key leaders in the process.”

To that end, a permanent public art piece was the ideal way to honor these aspects, according to the Texarkana Gazette (http://bit.ly/2gKucQ4 ). The artist hopes the art inspires campus visitors, draws them in and makes them think.

What started out as Red River Vocational-Technical School in 1965 eventually became part of the University of Arkansas system in 1996, later opening a Texarkana campus in 2012. Appropriately, the sculpture’s construction even uses metal stored there at the campus warehouse over the years, explained the artist.

From this material, Walter created her work. “That was the central centerpiece of the sculpture.” The work symbolizes not only the power of vo-tech education, but also the larger mission it adopted as the school grew with a more expansive idea of the university.

Walter says the lateral pieces in the sculpture represent the larger educational opportunities, on the one hand “providing windows to the larger world” and on the other “depicting a ladder of expansion that leads students to a widening view of their universe.”

Hence, the title of the piece plays on these themes, Walter said, noting that for her era vocational education was important. She’d like this trade education to remain, as she believes it’s important for the country’s expansion and infrastructure as these jobs require more technical knowledge.

She aimed to create something different with this art for this traditional campus with brick buildings. “To me, this was going to be something a little out of the ordinary,” Walter said about her design.

In a statement about the sculpture, the university’s chancellor, Chris Thomason, said it’s hard to capture the campus impact on the area for the past five decades.

“I am confident that the artistic vision of Ms. Walter will provide all of us and future generations with a sculpture piece that reflects on our past history and service while projecting our collective commitment to a brighter future for us all through educational excellence,” he said.

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Information from: Texarkana Gazette, http://www.texarkanagazette.com

Copyright © 2016 The Washington Times, LLC.

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