Students lend a helping hand at Elgin’s Maize Maze
FAYETTE, Iowa (May 22, 2007) – Upper Iowa University (UIU) Art Professor John Siblik is team-teaching Environmental Art with Steven Maxon, a sculpture from Kalona, Iowa, during May interim. The objective is to move the classroom outdoors so students learn to utilize concepts found in nature as their medium—stones, water, leaves, branches, sand and mud.
As part of their classroom experience, students recently helped Siblik and Laverne Swenson with the Maize Maze in Elgin, Iowa grid out 15-foot squares for this year’s design--a design developed by Siblik.
“Working on the gridding is hands-on experience so the students can see how the maze project evolves from beginning to end,” said Siblik. “Many of the students have never even set foot in a cornfield before so for them to be an actual part of this ecological creation is amazing. It is also important that they see this type of design is not just planted but becomes a work of art through a labor-intensive process.”
According to Siblik, Environmental Art is intended for all students and requires no previous art experience. They should be prepared to work outdoors in conditions that require heavy shoes, boots and other rugged outerwear, including gloves and rain gear. “Rain or shine, students should be prepared to strap it on,” states Siblik. At the completion of a project all materials are then left to return to their natural state.
Future community projects involving Upper Iowa Environmental Art students include a TAKO event and several installations of River Weaving, for which Siblik was awarded $2,400 from the Iowa Arts Council last month. Siblik was one of only 23 individuals or organizations across Iowa chosen to receive monies from this highly-competitive grant totaling $150,000.
River Weaving will be installed in the Volga River near the Fayette campus in conjunction with Watermelon Days on Aug. 24 and 25; in the trout stream at Echo Valley State Park on Oct. 20; and also near Coralville, Iowa (date yet to be determined) to coincide with the unveiling of their new river walk.
For more information about Upper Iowa University’s Environmental Art and other courses and majors, go to www.uiu.edu.
As part of their classroom experience for Environmental Art during May interim, Upper Iowa University students recently helped Art Professor John Siblik and Laverne Swenson with the Maize Maze in Elgin, Iowa, grid out 15-foot squares for this year’s design--a design developed by Siblik. Pictured from left to right (Front row) Mary Ohloff, Noah Froelke, Marshall Lenth, Amanda Jepperson, Sarah Beckman, Jennifer Andree, Dana Bay, Rebecca Miller. (Back row) Carlo Vottola, Jessica Bartels, Alex Schmidt, Travell Miller, Shihani Wallace, Amanda Goddard, Octavio Gomez, Elizabeth Geertsema, Breina Patterson, PJ Gunn, Emily Bamlett, Sara Corpstein, Professor John Siblik, Katie Mortensen, Laverne Swenson.