Lindsey Loeper ’04, American Studies, is an archivist at UMBC’s Albin O. Kuhn Library & Gallery.
When we talk about the history of UMBC, the people of UMBC are usually the focus: What were they studying, how were they living, and what concerns or issues did they discuss or debate? But site-based and community histories often include a look at the surroundings, or built environment, of a community. What spaces were former UMBC students occupying? What does the development and growth of these spaces say about the priorities of our administration and student body? Just like programs, courses and policies, UMBC’s pathways and public spaces reflect somebody’s effort to change our institution for the better, so studying the spaces is one way of exploring the history of innovation on campus.
One aspect of UMBC’s physical space that has captured my interest is art, particularly when it has been displayed outside of the designated gallery spaces in the Library, Center for Art, Design and Visual Culture, and The Commons. I am interested in how UMBC has chosen to use artwork to decorate or manipulate the landscape and how our students and staff have interacted with this artwork.
UMBC has a surprisingly strong tradition of large sculpture installations throughout our campus. In the photos below I have highlighted only a few, including several that are still visible on campus today. What do they tell you about the vision of their creators, and how do they resonate with you as manifestations of UMBC’s culture?
All images are from the University Archives, or were taken by me, unless otherwise noted.