Campus News

New round of campus art projects selected

Progress Pride Path.

“Progress Pride Paths” in Knox Quad is the first installation in the Contemplative Sites public art project launched by the Office of the Provost. Photo: Douglas Levere


Published February 23, 2022

“The more we transform our landscapes as makers and users, the more alive they become to us. ”
Despina Stratigakos, vice provost for inclusive excellence

A tribute to an Indigenous people. A football team that defied racism. Celebrating Title IX. A walking labyrinth.

Those are the themes for the next round of public art to be displayed at UB as part of the university’s Contemplative Sites project.

The annual initiative, launched by the Office of the Provost, showcases public art that not only enhances the campus, but provides for contemplation on important issues of our time. “Progress Pride Paths,” the colorful, quadrangular design installed on the sidewalks of Knox Quad in celebration of the LGBTQ community, served as the inaugural project last fall.

For this year, the UB community submitted 24 ideas for public art with themes that celebrate the university’s history, diversity and inclusion, says Kelly Hayes McAlonie, director of campus planning and chair of the Contemplative Sites Subcommittee.

“Our university community is incredibly creative and I hope the competition will continue to grow,” says Despina Stratigakos, vice provost for inclusive excellence and a member of the Contemplative Sites Subcommittee. “The more we transform our landscapes as makers and users, the more alive they become to us.”

North Campus map showing the locations of new Contemplative Sites.

Some of the possible North Campus locations for two installations honoring the Haudenosaunee Nation and murals recognizing Title IX achievements and the 1958 UB football team. The projects are expected to be installed this summer.

The subcommittee is in the process of commissioning artists for the four projects it selected to be on display throughout the 2022-23 academic year. The four themes are:

  • The Haudenosaunee Nation: The quad outside Clemens Hall will be home for two art installations that pay tribute to the fact that UB’s campuses operate on land that is the traditional territory of the Seneca Nation, a member of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy.

“We received quite a few nominations for that one — which was really powerful,” Hayes McAlonie says.

“We will ask everybody who made that nomination to be involved, but we really feel like the Indigenous studies department should be our partner on that because they’re the experts,” she says.

  • The 1958 football team: If you don’t know the story of this team you should. It turned down UB’s first-ever bowl bid because the invitation came with the condition the team play without its two Black teammates.

“I was not at all surprised when we received this idea and was actually hoping to receive that nomination because it hit all the spots,” Hayes McAlonie says. “A lot of people don’t know the story, especially students, so we felt we needed to not just celebrate it, but shout it out.”

A mural will be displayed on the North Campus, as well as the South Campus, where the football team played.

  • Title IX: This year marks the 50th anniversary of the passage of Title IX, which prohibits, on the basis of sex, discrimination in schools and education programs that receive federal money. Title IX became best known for its impact on high school and college athletics.

“The fact that this received two nominations was great, but we also felt that we would just like this story told,” Hayes McAlonie says. “We are going to work with both Athletics and the Gender Institute on the development of a mural somewhere over by Alumni Arena.”

  • A walking labyrinth: A walking path that follows a circular pattern and meant for meditation is designated for the South Campus. It was the one project selected that didn’t meet all of the committee’s submission criteria, Hayes McAlonie says.

“Everyone just thought that was kind of cool,” she says.

“We thought this would be really terrific on South Campus because labyrinths were sort of designed during that era of the South Campus and we felt that it would sit nicely in the landscape.”

The four projects are expected to be installed over the summer.