From a distance, a viewer can't quite determine what multicolored medium was used to create the new sculpture hanging in the IUPUI University Library atrium. A closer look reveals a multitude of children's scissors -- about 2,500 pairs with their brightly colored handles -- intertwined in a fashion that brings to mind the DNA double helix.
The hanging art, titled "I Dream of Scissors," is the work of Jenn Brown, a senior studying sculpture at the Herron School of Art and Design, on the IUPUI campus.
"I have a weird obsession with scissors," Brown said. "This piece brings you back to your childhood and your school supplies from when you were a kid. It’s a whimsical piece to represent us in grown-up school (college)."
Scissors, like a book in a library stack, are a very low-tech object that can be rediscovered in many different ways, Brown said of her creation, the 2015 IUPUI University Library atrium sculpture winner. And just as artists uses scissors to create artwork, scholars and students use books to discover new ideas, she explained.
Each year the IUPUI University Library sponsors the University Library atrium sculpture through a competition open to Herron students. The winner receives a stipend, funded by gifts, to turn a small model into a full-scale piece.
"It’s a great opportunity for anyone wanting to make it in the art world. It's especially important that it's somewhere like the library where there is a lot of traffic and your work is seen," said Brown, who pitched the design last fall to the competition's judging committee.
Greg Hull, associate professor at Herron, oversees the annual competition.
"This program is a great teaching tool. Through this program we know we can have students submit proposals for a real space where they must not only think creatively but mechanically as well in order for the sculpture to be hung," Hull said. "Students now come into the (Herron sculpture) program looking forward to this (competition)."
The sculpture competition and installation is a collaboration between the IUPUI University Library, the Herron Art Library, a full-service branch of the University Library and the Herron School of Art and Design. The contest provides the opportunity for a student to add an invaluable piece to his or her portfolio, the professor explained.
"It gives students one clear piece that has been shown in a significant public place. It also shows that the student can work on a timeline, within a budget and still use their creativity," Hull said.
University Library serves more than 1 million visitors annually. "I Dream of Scissors," will be on display through September 2016.