A Texas State student used his sculpture assignment to create a sense of community within the campus.
Gino “Puffy” Mindiola, sculpting and photography junior, was assigned to create a sculpture using Winter Rye Grass seed. However, he took it a step further and chose to do an interactive sculpture that he calls #WaterMe, so that the whole campus could participate.
“We were supposed to experience the process of growing and seeing the life and death of a plant and I decided to break that boundary by not only growing grass, but also growing different vegetables,” Mindiola said. “Then, I made it an interactive public piece for the campus and for the students.”
Every semester, students are pushed to create things with materials that are not generally used to make art.
“The idea the you grow a sculpture is meant to introduce students to new principles, because you’re accustomed to words like ‘build’ and ‘construct’ or ‘form’ and ‘transform’, but the word ‘grow’ is unusual in making art,” said Roger Colombik, sculpture professor.
One thing that set apart Mindiola’s sculpture is his focus on getting the community involved.
“Gino’s piece was exciting in that his goal was to bring the campus community to this awareness of the idea that we can all participate in nurturing a piece of art,” Colombik said. “It’s not just something an artist does, it’s something that a community can participate in.”
Lindsay Boddie, art senior, said she enjoyed how it brought out a sense of community to the campus, but also liked the relaxation it brought to her.
“The sculpture makes more of a community gathering place, especially considering the piece had three watering buckets out there instead of one,” Boddie said. “I also think its therapeutic being able to do a little mini gardening session in between classes.”
Mindiola has received a lot of attention from students because of his sculpture.
“I’ve received numerous emails and photos from other students sharing their experiences with it, and it even became a popular trend on snapchat a few weeks ago,” Mindiola said. “It’s been a great experience, especially since it’s my first time making an interactive piece for others.”
The sculpture is currently located outside the Joann Cole Mitte building on campus. However, Mindiola hopes to relocate it at the end of the semester in order to keep spreading a sense of community.
“If my current apartment complex approves it, I want to create a community garden within the complex for all the people that live there,” Mindiola said.
Mindiola said he checks up on his sculpture daily but leaves the actual watering for students.
“I’m trying to let it maintain itself within the students as much as possible but I do check it on a daily basis since I’m here every day,” Mindiola said. “I’ll see if it needs water in the water trough, but I do try not to touch it as much as possible.”
Colombik believes art pieces like this broaden people’s ideas of what art can be, and that it is important to have on a college campus.
“It helps other people outside the art (community) to broaden their awareness of what art can be and I think sometimes even artists have a very limited perspective when they hear words like ‘art’ or ‘exhibition’ or ‘sculpture’,” Colombik said. “I believe projects like this help all of us break down barriers.”