New set of sculptures raise awareness at LAB
Published: Wednesday, October 31, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, October 31, 2012 21:10
The Liberal Arts Building has a new set of sculptures. “Homes for Everyone,” a series of art created by University of Southern Mississippi professor Jennifer Torres, is catching the eyes of students, faculty and fans of art alike.
Torres used a research grant she won from the College of Arts and Letters to fund the set of sculptures. Each house featured in the sculpture is made of quarter-inch aluminum plates, according to Torres’s blog. The tallest measures about five feet.
The sculpture contains statistics about homelessness in America, and some of those statistics apply only to Mississippi.
“About three years ago, I almost lost my house to the economic crisis,” Torres said. “I started to think of the idea of homes and how important they are.” According to the National Alliance to End Homelessness as of 2009, more than half a million people experience homelessness on any given night, with 2749 homeless in Mississippi alone the same year, according to Mississippi United to End Homelessness.
These facts drove Torres to try to raise awareness about that issue through her sculptures. “As an artist, art is my voice,” said Torres. All sculptures are safe to be interacted with and are partly bottomless so people can go inside of the two taller pieces.
The placement of the sculptures near a busy sidewalk and courtyard was purposeful in hopes of having students interact with the art. “We are just lucky that the end result is something that students can participate in,” Torres said, in reference to her decision to use to money for the sculptures.
“Houses for Everyone” will keep remain in its current location near the Liberal Arts Building until the spring 2013 semester. As part of the board that decides which sculpture will be put on display, Torres hopes to always have public art on campus.
“People not liking [the art] is just as important as people liking it,” Torres said. “It gives us an opportunity to have a discussion of what is around us.”
For more information about the process of making “Houses for Everyone” or more of Jennifer Torres’s work visit her website http://www.jentorres.com/ or her blog http://jentorressculpture.blogspot.com/.