CHADRON – The Chadron State College Art Guild is inviting the campus community to participate in a project to establish the campus’ first Earth art project, a labyrinth in an abandoned cistern on the west side of C-Hill. Wednesday, employees and students are asked to meet at the Math Science building about 4:30 p.m. for the Rock and Run event.
The event involves volunteers filling five-gallon buckets of rocks no longer needed at Math Science and loading the buckets into pickups. Volunteers will drive to the labyrinth site. Participants are invited to run or walk to the site, help unload the rocks, and then run or walk back to the Math Science parking lot for prizes and refreshments.
The event has been almost a year in the making. Art Professor Mary Donahue said the idea for the labyrinth started last fall when she was talking with fellow CSC employee Elizabeth Ledbetter about her research into labyrinths and their healing qualities.
“Elizabeth’s idea of a labyrinth in the cistern seemed like an exciting and timely project to work on with students from many perspectives—design, art, history, culture, physical materials, nature, stress reduction, and mental health issues,” Donahue said. “I enjoy spending time outdoors in the natural world and have been seeking a way to combine that more with art and wondering what kinds of things we could do here at CSC.”
After creating and discussing a proposal with Dr. Jim Margetts, Dean of Liberal Arts, Donahue talked to the Chadron State Foundation that owns the land where the cistern is located.
In the early spring, Donahue submitted a proposal to the University and College Designers Association Design Education Summit Human Centered online conference and the poster abstract was accepted. On the poster, Donahue referenced an article in Outside magazine about the medical and health benefits of nature and outdoor activity.
The Art 422/Graphic Design Practicum class in Spring 2020 started research and preliminary designs for the labyrinth. The students took a field trip with Donahue to the cistern, took measurements and photos, and worked on drawings and ideas with the help of Lucinda Mays, grounds supervisor.
The next steps in the long-term project involve drawing out the labyrinth shape and then using rocks to create the path outlines.
“Right now, we just hope to get enough rock material moved to outline the walking paths. We plan on working around the interesting vegetation in the cistern and also using some of the existing bricks that have fallen onto the floor. Later, we see part of this as a Big Event worksite,” Donahue said.
Future design classes may work on refining the drawing of the paths and entrance access ideas. Additionally, Trudy Denham and her sculpture students may create clay pieces to accent the site.
—Tena L. Cook, Marketing Coordinator