Letter to the Editor: App State stands in support of the arts


For generations, App State has fostered a campus culture that supports the arts, as evidenced by An Appalachian Summer Festival, which celebrated its 38th season this summer, The Turchin Center for the Visual Arts, which will celebrate its 20th anniversary in May, the recent completion of the second phase of the university’s arts corridor, which unites the two sides of App State’s Boone campus, the academic departments of art, theatre and dance, the Hayes School of Music and the many other arts and humanities offerings at App State, and the Rosen Outdoor Sculpture Competition and Exhibition, which this year brought outdoor sculpture to our campus for the 36th year.

Recently, we have heard expressions of dismay from members of our university community regarding damage to one of the sculptures in the Rosen Exhibition during an impromptu celebration of the App State football team’s win over Texas A&M on Sept. 10. Entitled “Lost and Found,” the damaged sculpture was created by artist Kevin Curry, and came to be known as the “floating baby,” given its installation in the Duck Pond, a well-known campus landmark. 

Additionally, App State’s police department investigated reports of trash cans and mop buckets being overturned in Wey Hall during the weekend of Sept. 3. While the investigation determined that no artwork was damaged as a result of this incident, students and faculty have voiced concerns about public access to this building, and a more secure access plan for the building is in development.

It is important to share that police have determined these incidents were unrelated and that they weren’t motivated by intentional targeting of the arts on App State’s campus. That said, the damage to the sculpture was deeply disheartening, especially given our university’s long-standing tradition and reputation for supporting public art. While the university’s insurance policy will provide compensation to the artist, we recognize that we are a community that values the power of public art, and seeks a way to demonstrate this after the nationally documented destruction of a piece of public art on our campus.

As an institution of higher education, it is appropriate that we foster opportunities to raise awareness and inspire empathy for artists, and a better understanding of the meaning behind the work they create. It is also fitting that, as a university community with a long history of celebrating the arts, we take opportunities to do so broadly, across departments, units and divisions.

In light of this, the Office of Arts Engagement and Cultural Resources, the College of Fine and& Applied Arts, App State Police and App State Athletics will co-host programming in the coming weeks designed to promote awareness and a deeper understanding of the critical importance of art in the life of our campus and community. These will range from conversations and small group discussions to broad-based, campuswide celebrations of the arts.


If you would like to be involved in the programming of these events, please don’t hesitate to contact us at turchincenter@appstate.edu.


Denise Ringler, Director of Arts Engagement and Cultural Resources

Dr. Shannon Campbell, Dean, College of Fine & Applied Arts

Andy Stephenson, Director of Public Safety and Chief of Police

Doug Gillin, Director of Athletics