Juniata sculpture unveiled | Local
Juniata College recently unveiled a new sculpture on its Huntingdon campus, the Ark of Peace.
The arch is a combination of steel and multi-colored glass that plays with light and shadow while striking graceful colored orbs and leaves that reflect on the ground. It was installed outside of Kepple Hall at the north end of the campus.
The sculpture was created by artist Nicole Beck in honor of John Dale and his late wife Irene (Miller) Dale through a commission from Juniata College President Emeritus Thomas R. Kepple and his wife, Pat.
The arch was named in honor of the late Mrs. Dale, whose first name Irene means peace, as well as the Peace Chapel nearby.
The piece was installed over the course of three days and is permanently fixed in a concrete slab. The colorful effects of the arc are created through the use of dichroic glass. This glass is a special type of reflective material that often combines multiple colors that change when the glass is viewed from different angles through layers of quartz crystal and metal oxides. It can also emit or reflect unique colors. For example, while a dichroic glass can combine purple and gold when viewed, it can reflect a purely purple light on the ground in front of it. Beck used this quality along with different surface textures to give a unique quality to every piece of glass used in the room.
Kepple says he was thrilled to see the final product and to see the idea of ââsite-specific work come to life on campus.
âThe design of the building has always had the idea of ââan outdoor sculpture roughly in the location we ultimately chose. It is in the axis of the walk through the cloister and up to von Liebig (Science Center), âsaid Kepple. âIn general, we thought we needed more outdoor sculptures on campus, especially near the arts building. I love the wonderful and ever-changing colors of the sculpture as the sun passes by. It’s a fun piece and I guess there will be plenty of photos of it and our students happening over the years.
52 proposals were submitted for the project. Juniata College Art Museum Director Kathryn Blake formed a committee of faculty, staff and students to help refine the submissions.
âWe went through several rounds of exams. The phase-down brought us to three final possibilities, âsaid Blake. âWe then asked these three artists to submit more complete proposals. From there, we selected the works of Nicole Beck.
Beck says their initial request from the artists was to express aspects of the campus as well as Juniata’s dedication to an interdisciplinary approach to education within the work.
âAbstract elements of art, science and mathematics are brought together by light. The color appearance of the dichroic glass changes depending on where you stand, and the shape of the sculpture echoes the cloister arch, which is part of the line of sight, âsaid Blake.
Beck was delighted to work with Juniata as a collaborator to develop the piece.
âPlacing a specific sculpture on a commissioned site is a collaborative endeavor in the sense that we form the idea together. Juniata did something that hadn’t been done on my other sites, they poured a concrete slab, where the colors and shadows cast by the room are beautiful, âBeck said. âAll of this was accomplished before I got there. I was excited and happy that Juniata was collaborating with me on this aspect. It was a pleasure to work with Juniata.
An official dedication of Juniata’s Ark of Peace is scheduled to take place on campus in April 2022.