New Sculpture Installed On Campus

Feb. 19, 2002
News Photo 199

by Melissa Allen, Student Newswriter

A new sculpture was recently unveiled outside the entrance of the Hooper-Schaefer Fine Arts Center on the Baylor campus. The abstract bright yellow piece, titled "Santa Monica III," weighs approximately 1,700 pounds and stands 11 feet tall. Its creator, Betty Gold, was on campus Feb. 12 to oversee the installation.

"I never leave a piece of my work before it is installed correctly," she said. Once put in place, the statue must be checked for damage from traveling. Electric grinders will be used to repair scratches. Another coat of primer and two to three coats of paint also are applied to make the sculpture look fresh. This process will go into next week.

"You have to repair it like you would a car," Gold said.

The sculpture will continue to be maintained by Baylor art students, who will sand and paint the piece every few years to keep it looking new.

"Maintaining the surface gives students an active role in art," said John McClanahan, the head of the art department.

This sculpture was a gift to Baylor from Mr. and Mrs. David Chatkin of Pittsburgh, Pa. For the past 15 years, Gold has received funding from the Chatkins, who commission a sculpture a year to donate to an American college or university. The entire process of bringing the sculpture to the university took about a year and a half.

She chose Baylor after meeting a Baylor alumnus at her studio in Venice, Calif., who suggested that Baylor needed one of her statues. However, Gold also has many ties to Waco. She lived in the city as a child, and her father, as well as many uncles and aunts, graduated from Baylor.

A professional sculptor for more than 24 years, Gold's work also includes painting, drawing, silk screening, tapestry, jewelry design and photography. However, sculpture remains her primary interest. All of her outdoor pieces are constructed from welded steel. They are then either painted with glossy enamel or left in their raw steel state to rust to a velvety patina. Each of her pieces begins as a rectangle and from there is cut into different shapes.

Her outdoor sculptures can be found in public institutions internationally, including the National Museum of Contemporary Art in Seoul, Korea. She also has sculptures displayed at Duke University, Boise State University and Purdue University.

According to Gold, the exposure to different cultures has profoundly influenced her work. She has traveled to such places as Europe, Africa and Australia.

"We are thrilled to have the sculpture at the entrance of the building, and delighted that she is sharing this with the department of art," McClanahan said.

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