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College to Dedicate Spirit Waves Fountain, Newest Addition to Campus Art Collection

by Danielle Strickland

Spirit Waves FountainDavidson will dedicate the newest addition to its campus sculpture collection Tuesday, Oct. 29 at 4:30 p.m. Spirit Waves Fountain, a gift from Hugh "Chip" McAllister Jr. '61 to honor several generations of McAllisters at Davidson, was designed by granite sculptor Jesús Moroles of Rockport, Texas. The dedication is open to the public.

"This piece has created a space on campus where people can sit and contemplate," said Lia Newman, director and curator for the Van Every/Smith Galleries at the Belk Visual Arts Center. "You can sit on the work and enjoy it, which is different from pieces that you can admire from a little bit of a distance. It activates the space in a new way, and we are grateful to Dr. McAllister for seeing the potential for this piece at Davidson."

Spirit Waves Fountain adds a new medium to the campus collection. It is the first granite piece and the first to include a water feature. Moroles created it in 2003 for McAllister and it was installed on McAllister's property in a hidden garden space.

"The goal of the design was to create a sacred space that incorporated themes of the environment and, specifically, movement of the oceans," said Moroles. "The bench and the spirit column represent the shape and motion of waves, and the spiral floor of the fountain represents the water's movement. It sits below ground level so it becomes more a part of its surroundings."

The sculpture has already become a popular meeting space on campus, and it appears as though it was intended for its location - the courtyard behind the Sloan Music Center - all along.

"I like that the piece is now in public where it can become more of a gathering place, as it was always intended to be," said Moroles. "It's amazing to see the quality of art the campus has been able to acquire, and I'm happy to be a part of a collection that includes so many honorable sculptors."

Moroles has more than 2,000 works in place in China, Egypt, France, Italy, Japan, Switzerland and the United States, in museum, corporate, public and private collections. Among his distinctions, Moroles received the 2007 Texas Medal of the Arts Award for Visual Arts by the Texas Cultural Trust, and he was the youngest person to ever receive the National Gold Medal of the Arts Award, an honor bestowed upon the artist in 2008. His studio in Texas is unequaled in the country for making large-scale sculptures.