New Public Art Sculptures Installed on Southern Miss Campus

By Ivonne Kawas

The biennial University of Southern Mississippi (USM) Outdoor Sculpture Exhibition, sponsored by the College of Arts and Sciences, the Art and Design program and Partners for the Arts, features the work of nationally recognized artists and will remain on the Hattiesburg campus through March 2023.

A committee consisting of a student and faculty and staff members from the College of Arts and Sciences selected the pieces from dozens of entries through a blind jury process.

“Public art aims to not only beautify campus but also to promote the exchange of ideas and enhance the campus experience,” said Jennifer Torres, professor of Art and Design. “This year we have some amazing large-scale outdoor works that will make you stop and engage in conversations, as you’ll find them inspiring and interesting.”

“Action Reaction” a stainless-steel acrylic and spray paint by Chris Wubbena is installed in front of the Liberal Arts Building. Wubbena, who is currently a professor of sculpture at Southeast Missouri State University, has had his work exhibited in outdoor and indoor exhibitions throughout the United States. Wubbena’s work is inspired by classical figurative sculpture along with geologic and Neolithic rock formations, and takes a closer look at the individual, the person, and the weight they assume.

“Portal” a steel with patina piece by Kelsey Wishik is in front of the International Center. Wishik, a USM alumna and multi-media artist, focuses on works that range from two dimensional drawings and paintings to sculpture, performance, and installation. Through sculpture, two-dimensional works, music, and movement, she seeks to discover the diverse capacities of creativity as a unifying language, form of responsive intelligence, and tool for empowered human development.

“When One Door Closes, Another Door Opens…” steel pieces by Matt Moyer are between Cook and McCain Libraries. Moyer, who maintains his active ceramics and sculpture studio in Columbia, Mo., creates work that ranges from functional pottery to mixed media ceramic sculpture and large outdoor welded steel installations. His three aged doors represent a timeless scenario, a closed-door hinting at the possibilities that lie beyond if you are willing to be patient and approach with an open mind from all angles to find a new and unique perspective that will change and improve your life. 

“Yellow Roses” a mild steel piece by Laura E. Walters will be installed behind the Liberal Arts Building at a later date. Walters owns her own studio based in Dallas, Texas, where she began creating her Aqua Designs Collection. Walters’s work channels the underlying energy and rhythms of the natural world, transforming metal into elegant sculptures that celebrate the beauty and complexities of our universe. From her early works in bronze to more recent pieces in steel, delicate and organic shapes emerge in a variety of scales.

The public is invited to visit campus and view these sculptures. Read more about the sculptures and artists.