(EDITOR’S NOTE: An architectural rendering of the sculpture garden available at: wvutoday.wvu.edu)
Morgantown is often cited as one of the most desirable small cities in America in which to live – primarily for the quality of life the town offers through the arts, through education and the beauty of the region.
That reputation just got another boost with the addition of the Joginder Nath Sculpture Garden, an extension of the Art Museum of West Virginia University located off Patteson Drive.
The 2.5-acre garden extends the art museum to the outdoors, creating a contemplative space for interaction and conversation in the midst of native plantings and American and international sculptures.
WVU will celebrate the garden’s opening at 4 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 28, at the site. The outdoor event is open to the public and a reception in the Art Museum Education Center will follow.
The space is named in honor of donors, Joginder and Charlotte Nath. Joginder is a retired professor emeritus of genetics and department chair in the Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design Charlotte is a retired professor of family medicine.
“Jo and Charlotte Nath have helped us build an inspirational setting for the community and visitors to enjoy as well as a place for our students and faculty to study and conduct research,” said College of Creative Arts Dean Paul Kreider. “The Nath’s generosity and commitment to WVU is astounding.”
In addition to gifts to help with the construction of the new sculpture garden and Art Museum of WVU, the Naths support the genetics and developmental biology program and a graduate student travel fund in the Davis College and lectures in both the Honors College and Eye Institute. The Naths also provided support for the Student Food Pantry at WVU and the restoration of the Metropolitan Theater in Downtown Morgantown. Joginder was recently inducted into the Order of Vandalia, a special honor for those who support and love the University.
“The sculpture garden emphasizes nature and art in a space people will find appealing and attractive—a place they will want to spend time,” Nath said. “It extends the museum setting to the outdoors for art to be appreciated and enjoyed by many and for students and faculty to learn and grow.”
Nath noted that art and design students, landscape architecture students and others studied the elevation, drainage and other aspects of the space for senior projects over several years to help envision what the sculpture garden might look like.
According to WVU art museum director Joyce Ice, the garden currently features a piece by the late American sculptor and stained glass artist Odell Prather as well as a stainless steel piece by renowned sculptor and artist Wayne Trapp called “The Spirit of Growth 2015.” The artwork was purchased with funds donated by George and Vlera Trapp and stands on a slight rise just outside the museum’s west entrance – “much like a sentinel keeping watch over the garden,” she said.
Next month, contemporary Chinese artisan, He Zhenhai, will be installing “Bridge,” a piece that was commissioned by the College of Creative Arts. The College has a joint relationship with the famed ceramic city of Jingdezhen where He teaches and works.
Also coming soon are five Shona sculptures by Zimbabwe artists, donated by John and Ruth McGee of Charleston: Human Suffering, Shy Woman and Spirit Bird by Laxon Karisi; Protecting her Eggs, by Bernard Matemara; and Shy, by Brighton Sango.
Visitors will also notice an array of boulders throughout the acreage that were donated by WVU alumni John and Joyce Allen, who own limestone rock quarries in West Virginia.
“This truly is an inspirational sculpture garden,” Ice noted. “We want our students, faculty, staff and visitors to experience art from the U.S. and around the globe while enjoying the beauty and serenity of this outdoor space. Hopefully, people traveling along Patteson Drive to Ruby Memorial Hospital, ballgames and other nearby venues will also appreciate the garden and stop by.”
The area will be open year-round and is ADA accessible. There is also some seating along a meandering pathway. Additional plantings are scheduled for spring and, eventually, outdoor tours will be offered in good weather.
Assistant Professor Ashley Kyber in the Davis College School of Design and Community Development and VanNostrand Architects designed the garden; general contractor on the project was The Green River Group, LLC. Landscaping was performed by Biafore Landscaping Development.
Among the speakers at the Sept. 28 opening will be WVU President Gordon Gee, Provost Joyce McConnell, Kreider and Ice. The Trombone Choir from the College of Creative Arts will provide the prelude and fanfare.
The Green River Group, LLC is co-sponsoring the reception.
Visitors to the museum and sculpture garden may park in one of the two newly opened parking lots – Short Term Lot 1 at the corner of Patteson Drive and Morrell Way or Short Term Lot 9 located slightly up the hill near Evansdale Crossing. ADA accessible parking spots are located in the driveway in front of the museum entrance.
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