Pennsylvania College of Technology Art Installations
—1914 · Centennial · 2014 —
As part of the yearlong Centennial celebration at Pennsylvania College of Technology, three large-scale installations were created by artists with the help of students to enrich the outdoor environment of the campus.
Metal sculptor and Penn College welding instructor Michael Patterson worked with students to create an installation of life-size, abstract human forms. The welding students had the chance to couple their technical skills with their creative energy in the fabrication of the sculptures; the collaboration of technology and art generated a fresh, new energy in the welding labs. The sculptures are made entirely of material harvested from scrap metal from the welding shop.
I sometimes wonder how, in the past 100 years, this institution has changed the lives of others as it has mine.
I live close by, and in the mid-1970s, I wanted to be a draftsman, so Williamsport Area Community College was the obvious choice to pursue that. I enrolled, and I like it. While touring the other shops during an open house, I passed through the doorway of the welding shop. At that moment, my career - and my entire life path, for that matter - changed forever. Welding became my life's focus. To this day, that remains so.
I'm thankful for what this school taught me, and I'm thankful I'm now in a position where
I can share that with others.
"Student Bodies" is a celebratory mix of young imaginations and recycled steel. For most of the welders participating in this project, this was the first time they'd had the opportunity to work with metal outside the boundaries of function and precision. This "loosening of the rules" encouraged them to look at both the materials and their abilities differently. For a lot of them, it was an awakening of their very own, undiscovered creativity.
The raw materials and the student designs informed the final pieces. It was a very organic process and method of working. The enthusiasm and participation of the students was unexpected. Their welding skills improved markedly when they saw their creations come to life. It got them excited about being part of history here at Penn College.
- Michael Patterson
[Photo captions read]
Michael Patterson works with student artists in the welding lab.
A few visuals offer a senses of the creative spirit and spark that was ignited throughout the nearly one-year "Student Bodies" creation process. More than 60 students in several classes participated in the project, producing a parade of life-sized, human forms walking - and evolving - as they move through the heart of the Penn College campus.
[School's centennial timeline]
1914 - Williamsport
Area School District Adult Education
1941 - Williamsport Technical Institute
1965 - Williamsport Area Community College
1989 - Pennsylvania College of Technology