The Outdoor Sculpture Collection at Lehigh is a campus-wide collection consisting of original works dating back to the 1960s. Each sculpture encompasses a different style, approach, period and material.
The sculptures can be found throughout the university’s three campuses: Asa Packer Campus, Mountaintop Campus and Goodman Campus.
Mark Wonsidler, the Lehigh curatorial associate for exhibitions, collections and publications, said the outdoor sculptures are part of a larger collection. These outdoor sculptures are the largest within the Lehigh collection.
“They are part of Lehigh’s wider art collection,” Wonsidler said, “which is a permanent collection of over 14,000 objects ranging from ancient artifacts up through very contemporary art.”
He said most of the sculptures come from successful artists from the 1980s.
Wonsidler said the sculptures are always out in the open and are placed in relation to the landscapes around them. He said they add something special to the overall campus atmosphere.
Much of the art around campus comes from alumni donations or other art collectors. Wonsidler said Philip and Muriel Berman from Allentown have been major contributors to the collection of contemporary art and outdoor sculptures.
“The Temple,” “Trees” and “In a State of Rejuvenescence” are three outdoor sculptures included in the collection.
“The Temple,” which is located between Chandler-Ullmann Hall and Packer Memorial Church, was obtained in 1987 and was created by Mary-Ann Unger. It stands out on campus with its orange aluminum paint. Wonsidler said it is considered a religious structure with more of a cosmic feeling. It was hit and damaged by a tree in 2010 during Hurricane Sandy and was reconstructed afterward.
“Trees,” located on Goodman Campus, is a set of sculptures created by Menashe Kadishman and was acquired in 1977. This sculpture set is made of steel that gives the piece a more weathered and kind of whimsical appearance, Wonsidler said. He also said the type of steel used in this sculpture forms a protective layer of rust on the outside of it.
“In a State of Rejuvenescence” by David Cerulli came to Lehigh in 1998 and can be found outside of Zoellner Arts Center. It was a gift from Dexter Baker and represents colorful flames, each which is identified with classical muses.
Students around campus have acknowledged the outdoor sculptures as part of their daily lives. Cassidy Zane, ’19, said she thinks the sculptures add a lot of value to Lehigh’s campus.
“The sculptures are really interesting and complete the atmosphere of our campus,” she said.
Some students also feel the sculptures have become landmarks or reference points in their lives around campus.
Alexis Mims, ’18, said she meets her friend every week at the statue of the woman on the bench outside of Williams Hall.
“The statues have become such a normal part of my life here on campus,” Mims said. “I am so used to seeing them everyday, it would be strange if they weren’t there anymore.”
She said she thinks the sculptures add some uniqueness to our campus and that the art adds to the positive atmosphere of Lehigh when students are walking around each day.