Exploring your campus: The public artwork of BCC

By Cole Seidl – Student Reporter

As one enters the BCC campus, the sound of running water can be heard. It’s coming from the first piece of public art that was built for BCC, the “Bellevue Community College Fountain.” It is viewed as an entrance to the main section of the campus, but is only the first of many pieces of artwork to be found around BCC.”Art on display in public makes a place more human,” said Ray Jensen, designer of “The Doorway,” which is one of the most prominent sculptures on campus.

The “Bellevue Community College Fountain” has three large sheets of metal, which serve as a surface for water to flow down. The brick retaining wall around the pool at the bottom contains the title “Bellevue Community College.” The piece seems to be more part of the architecture than a standalone piece of art. However, many of the projects funded for BCC tend to blend in to the architecture, according to art instructor and art gallery director Dale Lindman.

Lindman, who has served several times on the arts committee, which makes the decisions regarding new public art pieces at BCC, states that much of the art is funded by a commission from school construction projects, such as new buildings and remodeling.

Art is a large part of the BCC campus and community. The public art is on campus to be enjoyed by all according to Lindman, because art should be a part of everyone’s life.

Another very recognizable piece is the bronze sculpture “The Doorway.” Located in front of the C building, “The Doorway” depicts a young man and a young woman, walking through a large metal doorframe. It was designed by Ray Jensen, a former BCC faculty member. According to Jensen the statue is meant to symbolize community college as a doorway to improving lives.

“The Doorway” is dedicated to Doris Katz and, according to www.bellevuecollege.edu, is an “inspirational and gifted teacher whose creativity, vision, and dedication helped turn the dream of this sculpture into a reality.”

The plaque also states that “The Doorway” was funded through a grant from the Bellevue Arts Commission as well as donations from Ditty Properties, BCC faculty, staff, students, and other individuals throughout the community. Most other pieces were funded through the Washington State Arts Commission.

One of the newer statues is “Process.” It is located in the grass in front of the Library and Media Center. It is a large stone, with a cup shaped object on top. The object on top of the stone, referred to in the sculpture’s plaque as a vessel, is intended to fill with rainwater until reaching its tipping point. Once the water is emptied, the process begins all over again. The sculpture was created by Mark Calderon in 2007.

“Psalm 61,” located just in front of the theater is large statue by Stu Branston. It was created in 1976 and is accompanied with a plaque that takes text from the Bible. The statue is made of many connected white circles that form a sort of loop.

“The Millennium Garden” was created in 2000 by Virginia Paquette. Its plaque simply states: “Celebrating the new millennium, education that creates the connection and the garden.”

“Ring of Fire,” which is located just in front of the R Building is large piece made of four metal pillars and a metal roof with fire-like designs cut into it. There are light bulbs under the roof, which light up at night, simulating fire.

There is a new, as of yet unnamed, piece currently being commissioned. It is being created by Lead Pencil Studio, which consists of Anne Han and Daniel Mihalyo, two Seattle based architects and artists.

Jensen said that viewing these public pieces of art is part of the learning process beyond the classrooms. He feels that the pieces reflect many things happening in the art world today, and would love to see more.

The public art on campus is seen by the state of Washington as an important benefit to our community. Throughout the day, many students and faculty members can be seen sitting near the pieces either studying in the richer environment Jensen says art creates. The art on campus are permanent fixtures like the library and the cafeteria. Take some time out to enjoy them as you would a little quite time in the library or a bagel from the coffee shop. It is here to enhance the learning experience and to be enjoyed by the BCC community as whole.