Art installations brighten Forest Grove campus

Students in Doug Anderson's basic design class create artwork around campus

A group of people gathered Thursday morning to examine the latest incarnation of Pacific University’s Spirit Bench. One snapped a picture on her cell phone.

In front of the green and brown-painted bench sat a coffee table and TV.

To the right was an end table, topped with a lamp, topped in turn with an umbrella.

Curiously, a head of purple cabbage sits on the end able.

The stone bench is a fixture of the Forest Grove campus and is redecorated by students every couple of nights. Thursday’s makeover, though, was special.

It was one of several art installations that appeared overnight and in the early hours of the morning, all created by members of Professor Doug Anderson’s basic design class.

The assignment, explained sophomore Riley Etheridge, was to create a piece of art specific to a given site on campus.

In Trombley Square, a red yarn spider web stretched between tree branches.

Empty bottles and cans—all found in the trash, rather than recycled—dangled like spent lanterns from the branches of the weeping cherry outside Scott Hall.

And down the concrete steps of Marsh Hall, piles of bright fall leaves were assembled into a symbolic tree, created by Etheridge and fellow students Shao Tao and Yuqing Li.

The Marsh Hall piece was a metaphor for the students’ journeys, Tao said. The roots symbolized the various pathways that brought each student to Pacific. The bright yellow trunk, or heart, of the tree represented the formative experiences they shared at the University. And the richly colored treetop (actually at the bottom of the steps) demonstrated the students’ maturity and the different journeys they will embark upon after graduation.

“As we journey through our four years … all the professors give you, all the life lessons … open a lot of doors,” said Tao, a senior biology major. “We’re lucky to be here. It really is a privilege to study here.”

Though the installations won’t last, Tao and Etheridge said they believe the art contributes to the Pacific community. Already, other students were adding to the creations, becoming part of the artwork.

More bottles were hung from the weeping cherry throughout the morning, Etheridge said.

And, he confessed, he and his team added to some of their peers’ art—with the mystery cabbage.


View more pictures of the art installations on Flickr.

Posted by Jenni Luckett ( on Nov 10, 2011 at 12:53 PM

Edited by Ben Griffin ( on Nov 10, 2011 at 1:47 PM

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