PAHB Arches

A few steps beyond the front door of the University of Maryland Baltimore County’s Performing Arts and Humanities Building (PAHB) stands a chiseled work of art. Displayed on the northeast end of the academic building is a structural composition of seven brown concrete half-arches and a multitude of concrete cubes. Three arches face toward the building’s rear with the remaining four parallel, facing away from the PAHB. Stretching approximately two stories high, the delicately-carved brown arches appear quite tall and intricate in comparison to the simplistic small cubes which find a home on the ground between them.  While the arches are used as decoration, the cubes can be anything from a sculpture to a seat. Students can be found interacting with the work on a daily basis, studying beneath the arches atop the concrete cubes.

Similar to college students, light also interacts with the structural composition. Rather than the abstract physical shapes of the sculpture itself conveying a deeper meaning, it’s effect on light does. Due to the its location, the arches and cubes fall within the natural light of the sun by day and the artificial lights of the campus by night, causing different shadows by the minute. Sizes of both the arches and the cubes vary from their counterparts, some constructed taller and wider than others. This, along with the concrete medium used for each component and the light surrounding the sculpture, allows for highlights and shadows to find a consistent home within the work. While they differ in location due to time and light, the shadows convey that time has ability to drastically affect happenings, a fact that is relevant in both art and life. In life, simply giving something time can affect the outcome, similar to how waiting near the arches can affect what you see.

While the sculpture indeed works as an artistic design, it also acts to students’ benefits, offering a multitude of seats within what can be described as a sculpture garden. Offering this unique advantage allows for UMBC students to further interact with art and study the intricacies they may not have if this sculpture was replaced with the average benches and chairs.  The arches engage the public in the art of creativity – often a lost issue within the day-to-day endeavors of honors university students.pahb-arches


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