Arts & Culture / Mosaic / May 27, 2010

Can’t touch this

Concrete has become more colorful the past couple of days here at Knox. In the past few days, the loading dock in the Quads has been covered in chalk art — pithy statements, goofy pictures of narwhals and outlines of people. In the arch between the laundry room and the Compass Room in the townhouses there was a psychedelic swirl of colors outlining bodies on the ground. These pieces are the work of Knox students seeking to leave impermanent art around campus.

The chalk art at the Quads’ loading dock was created by members of Sigma Nu following an amendment to the Student Handbook that was passed by Student Senate last week. Lyall Wallenstadt, a member of Sigma Nu and student senate, spoke about the changes to the Student Handbook.

“The handbook used to say that chalking was allowed on horizontal concrete surfaces only. We amended the Student Handbook to say that chalking horizontal spaces and spaces designated as student art spaces shall not be considered vandalism, and then we designated the loading dock as a student art space,” he said.

Wallenstadt decided that the Handbook needed to be amended after Campus Safety told the members of Sigma Nu that they could not chalk on the wall of the loading dock.

“We decided to [change the Handbook] because a few weeks ago we had a brotherhood event and we started chalking the loading dock and security came and made us stop,” Wallenstadt said. “So I made a resolution.”

This is not the first time Wallenstadt has contributed to the creation of public art spaces on campus. Two years ago the fence around the recycling area in the Quads was designated as a student art space after Wallenstadt and other students began tagging it, and Student Senate independently decided to designate it as an art space. Wallenstadt argues these art spaces are not only for student expression, but also for beautifying Knox.

“It was needed, especially since the loading dock is one of the ugliest spots on campus,” he said.

Ben Reeves

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