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Dowling digs new art installation

Published: March 19, 2010
Section: Arts, Etc.


Groundbreaking for the large-scale public artwork commissioned by Brandeis for the Festival of the Arts began Wednesday outside The Rose Art Museum. The work by Michael Dowling will be in the form of an elaborate copper fountain and will be completed in time for the Festival of The Arts, which begins April 28.

Dowling has collaborated with the Brandeis community in order to create his work “Source/Re Source.” Dowling, who is known for getting inspiration for his artwork from the community in which it will be on display, spent the fall 2009 semester attending classes, researching university archives and meeting faculty, students and staff. This spring he is teaching a class in the Department of Fine Arts in which students have contributed to the design of “Source/Re Source.”

“My inspiration is the continuing cycle of generations who come to Brandeis—the source—and return to the world as a resource for vision, justice, creativity and social change,” Dowling said in a press release about the artwork.

The structural choice to make the work a fountain was inspired by the campus proximity to the Charles River.

The sculpture’s name, “Source/Re Source,” is connected to the main theme of this year’s festival.

The Festival’s slogan this year is “Imagine / Re Imagine, Discover / Re Discover, Create / Re Create. Art is the Source.”

“This art is meant to show Brandeis as a resource for student life just as the Charles River’s water is a source of life,” Program Administrator for Brandeis’ Office of the Arts Ingrid Schorr said.

“Source/Re Source” will consist of a foot-wide copper trough set on the existing Rose terrace and centered on the Museum’s doors which will lead to a sequence of copper pans with spillways set on the Museum’s steps and an additional copper trough. The trough will spill beyond the existing guardrail and into a triangular pool which will encompass the majority of the Museum’s lawn. This work is indicative of Dowling’s other works, as the artist wrote an article in Brandeis’ Department of The Arts’ semi-annual publication State of the Arts saying he likes to use natural resources like copper and water in order to “engage [the audience] emotionally and make them feel part of something larger.”

Schorr said during the Festival of The Arts Dowling will “invite people to participate with the artwork” at a special surprise event.

“Public art is meant to be public and is meant for the community,” Schorr said. “That’s the way [Dowling] works, he is a community artist.”

The Festival of the Creative Arts will run from April 28 to May 2. “Source / Re Source” will be on display from April 28 through June 30.