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Students, faculty welcome arts plaza, outdoor classroom

Contributing Reporter

Published: Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Updated: Tuesday, November 13, 2012 01:11

In addition to the College of Humanities and Social Sciences building, students and faculty now have a new Arts Plaza and Outdoor Classroom to embrace. John de Castro, Ph.D. Dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, hosted an opening ceremony on Friday.

The event included a variety of performances and a speech from internationally known artist, Jesus Moroles.

As a lover of both the arts and environment, de Castro was persistent in finding a way to provide faculty and students with an area that would showcase different art forms in a beautiful environment. He not only envisioned a space used for the arts, but for the classrooms as well.

“The idea came from an understanding that we have a beautiful environment here and faculty love to come outside and share this environment with their students and have outdoor sessions, but we didn’t have an appropriate space,” de Castro said. “When I looked at the space here I thought it was perfect.”

Jesus Moroles is the artist and designer of the Arts Plaza. Moroles works as a granite sculptor. In 2008 he was the youngest person to receive the National Medal of Arts from former President George W. Bush. Moroles has more than 2,000 works in foreign countries such as Switzerland, China, Egypt, France, Italy, and Japan.

Moroles created a space that would be able to hold seating for an event. Along with a 9 foot water wall, the space provides excellent acoustics.

“The space reflects out and fills beautifully,” de Castro said.

De Castro officially opened the arts plaza by ceremoniously turning on the water wall for the first time. According to de Castro, having performers at the ceremony was crucial.

“I wanted to show off what was possible in the space,” de Castro said.

The performance consisted of multiple poetry readings and an interpretive dance. While Zachary Carrettin serenaded the audience with the electric violin, dancers Kim Clay and Alicia Carlin performed their interpretation of what the Arts Plaza represents.

“It was mostly trying to bring the space in and bless the space with my energy and love,” Clay said. “It was bringing it all in and sending out that blessing to the space.”

“To me it’s collaboration between the space and nature and just the total interaction,” Carlin said. “I was just feeling the wind in my hair with all the trees and hearing the music. I really just got to take in the space and the audience.”

The Arts Plaza and Outdoor Classroom is a multi-purpose facility that is located behind the CHSS Building, adjacent to the Coliseum. Wi-Fi will be provided outside for students.

“I want to bring in more than just my college together; I want to bring in the whole university community together,” de Castro said.

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