Artless interior design at MRU
In a sea of advertisements, student art is incredibly rare
Walking the halls of Mount Royal is something you can’t avoid, but how often do you notice the actual halls themselves? Students pass by paintings, archive photos and sculptures dispersed over the campus, never really stopping to actually look at or appreciate the art there.
However, if you take a closer look, you might begin to notice that there is a lack of actual art around campus, with a few notable exceptions like the Centennial Mosiac Mural.
Then there are questions like: Where is the art coming from? Why aren’t there more displays of student work on campus? What’s with that chair sculpture outside of West Gate?
The truth is, the only thing more difficult to find than student art on campus is information about it. Most of the paintings are on loan from the City of Calgary’s art collection, and unless you are know exactly what you’re looking for, insight on the history of the piece is hard to come by.
The pieces that are created by students and faculty seem to be hidden away in offices or areas of campus where traffic is comparatively low, such as Judy Trafford’s painting, “Avocets at Tea,” which hangs in the Academic Advising offices in C109. Trafford works in the Mount Royal Library, where she managed the Art Gallery.
Speaking of the Art Gallery, as of Nov. 1, 2012, it is closed, making access to art on campus even more difficult. If you visit the Library’s page on the school website, however, there are links to photo slideshows of the Winter 2010 and Fall 2009 galleries, though there is no accompanying information along with the slideshow — not even the titles or creators of the pieces.
For students who might be interested in learning more about the history behind these pieces, good luck. The process can be timely and frustrating, and it just isn’t worth looking into when your actual priority is that paper due in a couple of hours, or studying for a midterm.
Another fantastic work of art is the mural wall in the I-wing, which is updated every two years by the tech theatre program’s graduating class. Most students won’t get past the Tim Hortons at the I-wing entrance to ever see it, though.
Instead, MRU and the Students’ Association of Mount Royal University treat their students to a constant bombardment of advertisements, ranging from Katy Perry’s cupcake bra (which is meant to be an ad for Virgin Radio), advertisements for clubs and services on campus and even some of the same advertisements the institution has throughout the city.
However, if you are curious about the chairs hanging around where the transit hub will be, look no further. The Reflector is happy to inform you that the chair sculpture outside of West Gate is called “Homage,” and is a piece by sculptor Derek Besant. Besant also created another piece called “Enigma,” the university currently has in storage. The pieces both came out of a contest held during campus expansion in 1989.
It would be great if Mount Royal had something relevant as a welcome to campus, but nope. It is just apparently the best prize for a cheap publicity stunt.