OU School of Art and Art History senior Rani Cozad works on her sculpture, which is scheduled to be installed in mid-May at Lion’s Park in Norman.

Six students were selected by the Norman Arts Council to create outdoor sculptures that are now on display in Lion’s Park next to the Firehouse Arts Center. The sculptures will remain on display for the Norman community throughout the summer and into August.           

The works are assorted and include an abstract, figurative sculpture; a sculpture that speaks to harmony and inclusion through simplicity; a work that includes a wind chime; and a refined geometrical sculpture. One student incorporated technology that will use solar power and LED lights. Another used a thermochromatic paint that changes color with temperature.

These artistic works were created by four OU seniors and two OU juniors who were chosen to build their works during the spring semester. Senior students are Rani Cozad, Megan Schwann, Ryan Harris, and Alexis Dickens. Junior students are Anna Lipscomb and Amy Sanders.

Professor Jonathan Hils challenged his students to create professional sculptures to submit for deliberation as if they were applying for a professional civic sculpture contract. Erinn Gavaghan, director of the Norman Arts Council, and Larry Walker, chair of the Public Art Board, listened to each student’s proposal that included introducing a model of the presented artwork and a written description addressing why the work was significant to display in the public, outdoor exposition.

This is the second year that Hils has teamed up with the Norman Arts Council. He believes it is good for his students to do projects like this so they become familiar with how the art process works.  

Hils' favorite genre of artwork is abstract because it forces the artist to see the world differently. He wants his students to approach art from both a mental and emotional standpoint. This way the observer is able to think and feel something at the same time.           

The purpose of the project is to get students involved in their community while also allowing them to explore their creativity. Sometimes simplicity is what is best for the community. Senior Ryan Harris’ piece titled “Strength in Unity” is a sculpture that speaks to integration through a simple plus sign. Hils considers Harris’ sculpture to be the artwork that ties best with the community. “Strength in Unity” gives the sense of how people need to lean on each other in times of despair.

The OU School of Art & Art History, the Weitzenhoffer Family College of Fine Arts and the OU Honors College are helping in times of need by funding these artistic works through two Undergraduate Research Opportunity Grants.

At OU, Students are taken to conferences and workshops where they are given real life experience into the art world. The OU School of Art & Art History is committed to giving students a wide range of possibilities in order to discover their path as an artist. This project is just one of many exciting experiences OU offers to emphasize brilliance in the arts and professional practices.                      

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