Creating windows for Calhoun College among public arts projects underway

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The Women's Table, designed by Maya Lin. The Committee on Art in Public Spaces is working toward increasing depictions of women and honoring Native Americans, as well as launching a project to create art for Calhoun College. (Photo by Michael Marsland)

The Committee on Art in Public Spaces (CAPS) is launching projects to create works of art for Calhoun College and to explore ways to honor Native Americans in campus representations, even as it continues its efforts to increase the depictions of women in campus spaces.

The initiatives were announced in an email to the campus community from the committee’s co-chairs, Martha Highsmith, senior adviser to the president, and Martin Kersels, professor of art, who said that the committee members met several times over the summer.

They noted that President Peter Salovey has asked the CAPS to form a committee to gather proposals and recommend an artist or artists to create work for Calhoun College. This committee will include a broad representation of faculty, staff, students from and the head of Calhoun College, and alumni. Dean Jonathan Holloway has agreed to serve as an advisor to the committee.

“We anticipate that the art recommended for commission will take the form of glass to be displayed in the windows of Calhoun College,” wrote Kersels and Highsmith. “We will be soliciting ideas for artists from inside and outside the Yale community and will be in touch with you very soon with specifics about this commission.”

CAPS is also reviewing a number of proposals related to Native American art. “We hope to acquire some significant pieces of contemporary art, either on loan, by purchase, or through commission, to be displayed on campus. Discussions are underway about several exciting possibilities, and we will continue to keep you informed as this work develops,” reported the co-chairs.

In addition to these initiatives, the committee members endorsed efforts underway to provide more portraits of women leaders at Yale and recently served as advisers on a small sculpture installation for Science Hill.

“We are grateful for the partnership of the Women Faculty Forum in beginning an inventory of public art around campus and hope to continue that work this fall,” wrote Highsmith and Kersels.

Salovey reconstituted the Committee on Art in Public Spaces last spring to advise him on ways to better represent the diversity of the Yale community through the art and other symbolic representations found around campus. The committee’s charge includes the following responsibilities:

• To inventory Yale’s current collections of art in public and communal spaces;

• To make recommendations concerning ways to reflect with more accuracy the vibrancy and diversity of our campus in artistic representations;

• To create policy/principles for the acquisition of public art, consulting with directors of the Yale University Art Gallery, the Yale Center for British Art, the Peabody Museum, and others;

• To determine a conservation plan;

• To maintain a web site about public art and the work of the CAPS;

• To create self-guided walking tours;

• To make recommendations to university officers for siting future acquisitions.

 “We appreciate the support and comments we received from the community last spring,” concluded Highsmith and Kersels. “We welcome your continued feedback. You may use this form to send your suggestions and observations. We look forward to providing updates about our work as the semester progresses.” 

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