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What is that? Significant sculptures in Seton Hill pay tribute to deceased artist and teacher

By on November 16, 2021 0

Along the road to Seton Hill University, a red and orange sculpture peeks through the trees, greeting visitors to the Greensburg campus.

A second sculpture, painted a solid red, is placed more prominently at the Seton Hill Arts Center, seen by those crossing the intersection of West Otterman Street and Bell Way.

The coins are part of a series scattered throughout Westmoreland and Allegheny counties. They were created by the late artist Josefa Filkowsky who taught at Seton Hill from 1955 until his death in 1999. For the school’s arts department, show the pieces not only to students and staff, but also to members of the public, shows the priorities of the university.

“Seton Hill promotes the arts, and a lot of small universities might have classes or a studio or two, but the fact that it’s all on campus confirms what we value,” said Maureen Kochanek, assistant. professor of art history.

The first piece located in Seton Hill is “Pipe Dreams”, now placed in front of the arts center. Featuring a single pipe, the steel sculpture was built in 1969. It was originally located on the university’s main campus in a pine grove, said Pati Beachley, art professor and chairman of the university’s department. art and design.

Beachley said officials decided to restore and relocate the room when the arts center opened in 2015.

At the time, George Hritz had been hired to restore the room.

“I am an admirer of the work of Josefa Filkowsky, and the sculpture needed a little attention. … It had been moved a bit, slightly damaged, it was corroded, ”Hritz said. “Pati had the vision to recognize how much better it would be here. It would be more part of the community, be more visible and represent the art of Josefa.

The coin was moved to its current location in November 2020.

Pipe Theme in Red Orange, the sculpture along Seton Hill Drive, previously sat outside Lynch Hall. The aluminum piece has 10 pipes in different shades of red and orange.

Sculpture has a rich history on campus. In 2011, it became a subject of controversy when it was repainted in blue and gray after the Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine revealed a pre-osteopathic medicine program at Lynch Hall. University officials decided that red and orange collided with the school’s official blue color.

The change, however, was quickly rejected by alumni, students and art experts.

“It was controversial. The old people didn’t like it, ”Beachley said. “It says ‘Pipe Theme in Red Orange’ in the title, so that was a puzzle. “

Beachley said a student hired to paint the sculpture in blue and gray was rehired to paint it in its original colors.

The sculpture was moved to its new location in 2012.

“I think the end result was the sculpture got more attention and more space, so it’s a win,” Beachley said.

For Kochanek, the sculpture’s new location is a symbol of Filkowsky herself.

“She’s always taken care of everything and everyone, so I almost see it as if she’s standing there with her hands on her hips like, ‘What’s going on?’ He really has presence, just like she always had presence, ”said Kochanek.

Two other pieces of pipe are located in the area. One is in the Westmoreland Museum of American Art. The other is near the Gateway Center in downtown Pittsburgh.

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