The “art bench” pushes for creative freedom on campus

Richard Decker
Staff Writer

A student admires the “art bench” work sprawled on a bench located outside of Brahan Hall.PHOTO BY RICHARD DECKER

A student admires the “art bench” work sprawled on a bench located outside of Brahan Hall.

A student recently added her drawings to what she deemed the “art bench,” with the goal of creating a permanent medium for students to express their creativity on campus.

“I began weeks ago but the art went unnoticed for so long before gaining attention in the last week or so,” said A.W., who has requested to be referred to by her initials.

Inspired by a sketch on a bench in the courtyard by Marvin Library, the once-empty slate will soon become a culmination of student artistic collaboration and expression.

“When I saw the first sketch by A.D., I added my own art, and I had this idea of starting an art bench,” A.W. said. “I wanted other students to add their work and they did.”

Over time, the bench evolved into a story of A.W. and her secret admirer, M.B. What began with a geometric flower and hummingbird penned on the bench with black Sharpie quickly turned into a love story, with an illustration reading “Dear A.W., please marry me. I love your drawings,” signed M.B.
A day later, a large black Sharpie diamond engagement ring appeared on the bench, along with the words, “For M.B., Love, A.W.”

Hours later, with the identities of the star-crossed art lovers still unknown to one another, a sketch of a church appeared, along with the question “what type of wedding shall we have?,” signed M.B.

Since the first stories told through black ink drawings on the red bench surfaced, countless other works of art have been added. Many students added pieces, including a giant whale with evergreen trees growing from atop its body, a sketch of a tree-man with a speech bubble that was later added, reading, “We are Groot!” and a space-black mountain range with a shadowy moose in its horizon.

Others used the medium to make a statement, with one sketch reading, “If you want to achieve greatness, stop asking for permission.”

Another student used their art to send good vibes with the message “Keep it Simple” written alongside illustrations of the wilderness.

After almost two months, A.W.’s goal of establishing a designated art bench for students to express themselves through their own artistic creations was met. However, some students worry that their art could eventually be disturbed, echoing the reason A.W. had for remaining anonymous.

“I don’t want administration to paint over it,” A.W. said. “They should give students the chance to benefit the school because everything is so dull and, well, concrete.”

A.W. hopes that administration will officialize the bench as an acceptable form of student expression on campus. She observed that many of the buildings are dark and gloomy, and she also brought forth the point that there are not any other murals on campus on which students can share their thoughts and ideas through art.

While making the art bench official is one of A.W.’s primary goals, she also hopes to see administration take other steps in allowing students to share their art with the community.

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