In November, a blue-tipped bronze tree stump with
exposed tentacle-like roots appeared
outside Levering Hall. The outdoor sculpture, titled
Willow, was created by Martin Kline, an acclaimed
artist whose works have been displayed at the Metropolitan
Museum of Art in New York, the
Baltimore Museum of Art and other major museums throughout
the United States.
Now that Willow, a gift from university alumnus
Stephen Mazoh (KSAS, '62) in memory of his
brother-in-law, has taken root, the university hopes other
such works of art will join it on the
This past year, Johns Hopkins began to seek donations
of outdoor sculptures to enhance
Homewood's now pedestrian-friendly grounds and to raise the
profile of the arts on campus. As part
of this effort, the board of trustees' Committee on
Buildings and Grounds, working with the campus's
Cultural Properties Program and Office of Facilities
Management, has created an Art Review Panel, an
eight-member group that will assess gifts and purchases of
public art, primarily outdoor sculptures.
Consultants from the Baltimore Museum of Art, the Walters
Art Museum and elsewhere will be used
on an ad hoc basis, depending on the nature of the work
under consideration. The panel, comprising
university personnel and a trustee, will have the final say
on what public art the university accepts and
where it will be installed, whether on a permanent or
The Committee on Buildings and Grounds also created
"sculpture installation zones," tracts of
campus that are designated for the permanent and temporary
installation of sculpture. The permanent
locations are two areas to the south and east of Levering
Hall, behind Hodson Hall, north of Gilman
Hall, behind the Johns Hopkins Club and a portion of campus
bounded on the north by Mudd Hall and
on the south by Remsen and Jenkins halls. A combined
permanent/temporary zone, to be known as the
Arts Walk, stretches from an area behind Shriver Hall to
the circle in front of the Milton S.
Eisenhower Library. A temporary-only zone sits to the east
of Mason Hall.
The permanent installation areas exclude areas zoned
in the master plan for building sites and
those that are intended for public use. The zones also take
into account existing artwork areas, such
as the Bufano Sculpture Garden, which is home to 10 stone
animals fashioned by Beniamino Bufano.
Winston Tabb, Sheridan Dean
of University Libraries and Museums and vice provost for
arts, said that what set the new policies in motion was the
donation of Willow at about the same time
that two undergraduates secured an Arts Innovation Grant
for a year's loan of a sculpture from
Artscape, Baltimore's public arts festival. The visiting
sculpture, a piece by Charles Ponticello called
Deepwater Sponger, was installed in the Mattin Center
"When we were considering where to put these two
sculptures, we realized we had no official
policy from the trustees on where public art could be
installed," Tabb said. "We wanted to determine
with clarity who could decide what art we accept and where
Tabb, who chairs the Cultural Properties committee,
said that unsolicited donations of public
art have not been frequent. "But we expect them to come up
more often now," he said. "We want to
solicit more work and have an effective plan in place to
show donors where it can be placed and
generate more interest in the donation of aesthetically
appealing art. We think this will also continue
the beautification of the Homewood campus."
Tabb said that the outdoor sculpture initiative is
also an outgrowth of the Homewood Arts Task
Force, convened in 2004 by then Provost Steven Knapp, and
the Cultural Properties Program, begun
The university tapped Jacqueline O'Regan as its first
curator of cultural properties, a position
created to address ways in which the university collects
and manages its extensive cultural resources.
O'Regan, previously the curator of Evergreen Museum &
Library, is responsible for objects that range
from fine art and furniture to historical teaching
equipment, photographs, architecture and sculpture.
She is also responsible for creating policies for the
collections of Homewood and Evergreen museums.
"We wanted one person to be responsible for
coordinating the collection as a whole," Tabb said.
"Jackie will oversee offers of art, fact gathering on all
these works and ensuring their conservation."
Under O'Regan's supervision, Homewood's more than 30
outdoor sculptures will be cleaned and
examined on a regular basis. The bronzes will be washed and
waxed, damages noted and conservation
treatments carried out.
This year, Cultural Properties contracted two
professional objects conservators to conduct an
assessment of all campus sculpture. As a result, priority
treatments were undertaken on three works,
including Sea Urchin, a working part of the fountain system
in front of Nichols House.
O'Regan said that she envisions sculpture taking on a
prominent role at Homewood, similar to the
way it has on Princeton University's campus.
"Ideally, the university will attract some major
artists over the next few years. I think that will
do a lot for the campus, when people visit and see major
works," O'Regan said. "Not only will these
works enhance the campus, but I think they can invite a
meaningful dialogue with students and faculty
about the role of art in society."
So what outdoor sculptures will the university accept?
Tabb said that a piece has to have
aesthetic appeal, be "appropriate" for a college campus
setting and be able to withstand the elements-
-including probing hands.
"We don't want these under lock and key," he said.
"These sculptures can be touched. We want
them to be enjoyed and appreciated."