A Rose by Any Other Name – What is Art on Campus?

If you live in the dorms, whether that’s Chap, Chisholm, Laurel, or even University Oaks, you have to make a bit of a trek to class and back depending on your schedule.

Last semester, I walked different paths to and from my dorm just to be able to say I had walked them all. The path I take now travels along the San Saba dorms. If you’ve walked the path, you probably have seen the hidden corner for the AC unit of the dorms and the storage area of construction supplies, but what is intriguing is the open space behind the AC. A person – man or woman, I don’t think we will ever know – started drawing on the walls with chalk last semester. Some of the drawings were curse words and just scribbles, but most of them were playful and quirky – one time they even played a game of Hangman. Though this mysterious artist hasn’t done any more this semester (probably due to the weather), the imaginative characters have stuck with me.

If you try to do anything like this on campus, for any sort of event or organization, you’ll get in trouble and be forced to clean it up and possibly pay a fine, since it is against school rules. Now I get the principles behind it – the cleanup that you and/or your organization may not provide is tedious for the people that work for the UC, and what happens if people start tagging buildings with vulgar words and images? But there is something to be said about what this says to students.

We have the statues in front of the UC and the MS that aren’t, shall we say, very popular among the student body, the eclectic posters that line the meeting rooms, and the minimalist paintings that are found in the most random of corners. When you walk the campus, and come across any of these pieces, you’ll find yourself confused. If this art is meant to identify with the students, than what image is that portraying? Are we outdated or out of place? Or are we just lost?

If anything, I identify with the special “designated” areas for art and the undesignated chalk drawings next to San Saba that so many others must also walk by.