CHSS Outdoor Classroom / Art Plaza

(Hellieth Pedroza and the Junior Fellows)–On Friday afternoon the Junior Fellows had the chance to assist the Dean’s Office during the opening ceremony of the new Art Plaza/Outdoor Classroom.  The evening started with a speech from Dean de Castro, who discussed how the classroom evolved from an idea to reality.

Dean de Castro Opens the CHSS Art Plaza

The Dean wanted an area in which the fine arts, education, and the environment interacted with each other, and from the looks of the plaza, it worked.

Opening of the CHSS Art Plaza

As planning progressed, Jesus Moroles came to mind as the ideal artist for this work.  When Moroles signed on, the plaza moved to reality.

Book On the Work of Moroles–(Literally) On a Work by Moroles!

Following the Dean’s speech, Provost Hebert spoke on behalf of the University, noting how proud he and President Gibson were of the Plaza’s inauguration.  He also praised Dean de Castro’s “persistence,” which he described as the force behind this accomplishment.

Provost Hebert Speaking

One of the highlights of the afternoon was Moroles’s speech, in which he noted that the opening of the plaza was particularly special in that SHSU represented one of his “Sacred Places,” one of the few places in the world that have a special place in his heart. Moroles has many connections to Huntsville (you can see some of his work at the Wynne Home), and it’s a real privilege to have an artist of his caliber connected to the community and SHSU.

Jesus Moroles

As an aside, this outdoor classroom/art plaza is a special place for the Junior Fellows as well.  Not only were we privileged to volunteer for this event, but as CHSS students, we also hope to have classes here.  Moreover, the Junior Fellows raised sufficient money for the CHSS”s “Next Steps” campaign that we were able to obtain naming rights for a couple of pavers.  We honored some of our favorite SHSU/Community folks with the pavers, giving them in honor of “Mac and Leanne Woodward” and “Ralph and Linda Pease.”

We also enjoy the work of Moroles.  In the past, we’ve attended his lectures and seen his work.  Actually, three of the Junior Fellows have interned at the Wynne Home Arts Center and worked directly or indirectly with Moroles.

Junior Fellows with Jesus Moroles and His Art

Coincidentally, while we were assisting the CHSS staff with this event featuring Moroles, the other Junior Fellows were in New Orleans, where they happened upon his art in the New Orleans Museum of Art’s Sculpture Garden.

And all of that went in to making the opening of the Art Plaza all that more special.  It helped, too, when Mr. Moroles stayed around afterward and told us a little bit about his childhood in Corpus Christi, Texas and his many travels. We asked him what it was like to travel so much, to so many different countries. He explained to us that he loves to travel because he gets the unique opportunity of cohabitating with people from distinct places. He said, “ Even though we are thousands of miles away from each other, the differences between us are very little.”

We also had the chance to listen to beautiful poems, and an incredible aerial dance by graduate students of the Dance and Mass Communications Departments, some of which you can see here.

Moroles even played one of his granite instruments in a duet with the violinist.

Jesus Moroles Performing a Duet with the Violinist

The performers were truly astonishing.

Four Artists, Three Media

The ceremony was followed by light refreshments, and a delicious cake in the shape of the Art Plaza.  It was an enjoyable afternoon, and the crowd seemed to have a good time…

…As did the Dean…

Dean de Castro and Jesus Moroles

As did we.  In one afternoon, we were able to learn about art, dance, music, architectural landscaping, service, and event planning, without even being in class.  It was an event that exemplifies the spirit of the CHSS and the spirit that animates the Junior Fellows.

Photos by Junior Fellow Jessica Rodriguez


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