UB Today Alumni Magazine Online - Winter 2000
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COVER STORY
Imagining the Pan-American Exposition

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PAN AM 2001

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Pan-American Exposition 1901

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The Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation

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Imagining the Pan-American    
Exposition



Collaborative project employs digital arts to recreate and reinterpret epochal event.


BY PATRICK KLINCK

ROSSING THE TRIUMPHAL BRIDGE AT THE ENTRANCE to the Pan-American Exposition of 1901, with its colossal columns and oversized statuary, you can't help feeling puny. This place was seemingly built for giants. Traversing the grounds, you see grand, imperial monuments, arches, rotundas, spires, rippling banners and rainbows of color in every direction. In the distance, lording over the scene, is the imposing, nearly 400-foot-tall Electric Tower.

    You are drawn there ... you rise, fly over the Court of Fountains, above roof gardens and sky-high colonnades, come face to face with the tower's "Goddess of Light," before you circle the campanile-like structure, then drift back to ground level, lighting on the steps of the ill-fated, yet spectacular, Temple of Music.

    Of course, it's not 1901, and, no, you're not dreaming. It's 100 years later and you're on the UB North (Amherst) Campus, navigating through a virtual, 3-D model of the Pan-Am. As you read these words, a team of university students, instructors and local consultants is at work bringing this vision to reality. If all goes as planned, it could become one of the centerpieces of a community-wide effort to commemorate the centennial of Buffalo's naissance de siecle exposition, an effort that's being called Pan-Am 2001.

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