Posting Date: June 3, 2009
"Midnight Owl" installed on the KSU campus green
By Jarmea L. Boone
Chris Wilson delivering his speech on the campus green before the unveiling
Chris Wilson and mentor Roberta Griffin
Photographs by Cheryl Anderson Brown
Kennesaw State University alumni Chris Wilson (art, 1994) recently gave back to the school in a big way. “Midnight Watch,” a bronze memorial owl sculpture, was presented to the KSU community in an installation ceremony on the campus green on April 30. Students, , staff, and guests witnessed the unveiling of the sculpture that was built as a tribute to students who have died.
Commissioned by the Student Government, the sculpture project started in early 2008. “The current casting and ceramics professor, Keith Smith, told me that KSU was interested in having an owl memorial sculpture created,” said Wilson. “I had already constructed a smaller owl that stands in KSU President Daniel Papp's office.” Wilson began shaping 450 pounds of bronze and 1,000 pounds of foundry into the nine foot tall, three foot long figure that “Midnight Watch” is today.
“After ‘Midnight Watch’ was installed, many students have come over to admire it and ask questions,” said Wilson. “I am pleased with the results and would not have designed the sculpture differently. In fact, the location and structural support of the sculpture is superb.”
Wilson believes that the sculpture is another positive addition to the university. “When I was a student at KSU from 1989 to 1994, I took many studio art classes in the old Humanities Building. Later, after earning my master of fine arts degree, I was one of the first professors to teach in the new Visual Arts Building at KSU in the summer of 2001. I remember ordering the equipment for the sculpture studio's foundry and thinking how far we have come. Now KSU has ‘Midnight Watch.’”
Several minds and hands contributed to the idea, creation, and installation of the sculpture. “I owe a lot of gratitude to my mentor Roberta Griffin for her support and her personal vision. Chris Dziejowski, the art department's studio technician/coordinator and my friend and colleague, has assisted me a lot with my work over the years. Several KSU art students helped with the owl's installation; in particular, Billy Linpinsel and Dustin Baker were invaluable in their assistance. Thanks go to Padgett Engineering and to our campus architects, Glen La Vine and Paul Underwood. It was also a pleasure to work with the Student Government, Director of Student Life Kathy Alday, and to have President Papp's support. Finally, Jodie Sweat and the grounds crew at KSU and Pat Gary and his Bobcat insured that the sculpture's presentation was immaculate.”
Wilson looks forward to the owl sculpture’s wide acceptance and appreciation. “I think that many people get caught up in work and our daily lives, we forget to take notice of the positive changes around us. Hopefully, my owl sculpture reflects how the university has integrated student life with the campus' tremendous growth and development. I hope that ‘Midnight Watch’ serves as a symbol of KSU's past, future, and excellence in education.”