The ‘Back Porch’ sculpture is the symbol of black life on campus


A sculpture that commemorates a meeting place for black students at Ohio Wesleyan University in Delaware has been erected outside the university’s historic Elliott Hall on the main campus.

Andrew Wilson, an Ohio Wesleyan graduate and California artist, designed the sculpture, which was created and installed with help from sculpture teacher Jonathan Quick.

Wilson said the “Back Porch” sculpture – a metal work of art 14 feet high, 8 feet wide and 8 feet deep – honors the former back porch of the university’s House of Black Culture. , 65 Oak St., which was opened in 1970 and rebuilt in 2019.

The sculpture “represents the space we previously used on the back porch of the former House of Black Culture,” he said.

The porch was screened, he said, and was an intermediate space for black students, a connection between the house and the rest of Delaware, allowing those on the porch to see outside while others couldn’t see inside.

“It was a liminal space between the outside and the inside where we could be both very visible and invisible. It was a respite space for many. ‘Back Porch’ is a way to honor this space and its importance to black life in Ohio Wesleyan, ”Wilson said.

The sculpture takes on added significance, he said, as a back porch was not included when the building was reconstructed.

The volume of the sculpture is the same as that of the Lost Porch, Quick said.

“The sculpture is an open rectangular box placed vertically on its longest axis. The (former House of Black Culture) was a large building, and Andrew and his fellow students have fond memories of this back porch space,” said he added. “It was the perfect time to make a truly positive statement, with the sculpture Andrew designed to commemorate the black experience here in Ohio Wesleyan and to sculpt a bit of what he calls black space.”

Wilson, 29, said his years in college were amazing. Compared to his home in Oakland, Calif., Delaware is a “little place stuck in its old ways,” which many black students have found difficult, he said.

Wilson received an MA in Fine Arts from the University of California at Berkeley.

“I have a deep love for this place, and it is also my duty to be extremely honest about my desires and goals and what I think the future of this place may be,” he said. he declares.

Quick said the sculpture is made of weather-resistant steel, which is popular for outdoor sculpture because it only rusts superficially, with most of the metal unaffected after several decades.

Wilson studied sculpture under Quick as a Wesleyan student from Ohio.

“He was a wonderful student and a great alum. He’s a friend of ours, and we wish him well in all his endeavors,” said Quick.

Wilson called Quick an “extremely caring and patient person” and said the sculpture could not have been created without Quick and the Ebb and Teena Haycock Public Art Endowment, created by their daughter, Lorry Luikart.

Haycock was an Ohio Wesleyan professor of sculpture from the 1960s to the 1980s, and his wife was secretary in the drama department, said Luikart, also an Ohio Wesleyan graduate.

“My parents have always been very strong advocates for civil rights. They told us from an early age to treat everyone the same and not to be prejudiced or prejudiced,” said Luikart.

For a time, the Haycock family lived next door to Butler A. Jones, the university’s first black instructor, Luikart said.

She said the endowment was created specifically for outdoor art at the university and that more projects are likely in the coming years.

Wilson said he stays busy with a number of art exhibitions and has completed several artist residencies. He said he would soon be starting a 10-month residency in Galveston, Texas. Its website is aiwart.com.

Although “Back Porch” is already on view, the sculpture will be officially dedicated at a public event at 4 p.m. on Oct. 2, said Cole E. Hatcher, director of media and community relations at the university.

Speakers will include Wilson, Luikart and the president of Rock Jones University.

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