“Junkyard sculptures” decorate the Student Union

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Zac Caffey, freshman in engineering, and his father, Rob Caffey, Vice Provost in Information and Technology Services, look at the exibit of Lary Goodwin's sculputure work on display in the William T. Kemper Foundation Art Gallery on August 31, 2017. (Photo by Regan Tokos | Collegian Media Group)

Tucked behind the Radina’s Coffeehouse in the K-State Student Union, there is a dimly lit room. Upon approach, a scrap metal fish stands guard over the other sculptures taking up temporary residence in the William T. Kemper Art Gallery.

The Junkyard Sculptures Exhibit, sponsored by the Union Program Council, is a collection of art fashioned entirely from trash, scrap metal and other repurposed materials.

The walls are lined with spiders that allude to childhood favorites like “Charlotte’s Web,” and to the right of the visitor log sits a blue ironing board full of scraps entitled “Found Objects.” Each piece in the room, whether on the wall or sitting on top of one of the many pedestals, is named. Even the metal man with the mustache and bow tie sitting in the corner of the room has been given a name: “Sir O’Whatshisname.”

Students and community members alike can enter the gallery on the first floor of the Union and see the work of Larry Goodwin, full-time artist and Kansas native.

Goodwin’s sculptures are all made from secondhand materials. He scours flea markets, garage sales and Goodwill, but he said “junkyards are the best resource for found objects.”

In Goodwin’s hometown of Concordia, there was a welding shop two blocks from his house, and this proximity influenced his decision to become a welder. He graduated from the North Central Kansas Technical College in Beloit, Kansas, in 1969. He later retired to become a full-time artist.

Goodwin, who has had an exhibit on display at K-State in the past entitled “Earth Iron Works,” said he is excited to be back.

“I want to inspire the students and teach them that artwork is imagination,” Goodwin said.”I want them to see that all objects and media have potential to become a sculpture.”

Matthew Gaynor, head of the Department of Art, said he is most enthusiastic about the opportunities the exhibit offers.

“Students [are able] to experience the creativity that is going on all around them,” Gaynor said. “By attending the art exhibit, people are able to look at the world from a point of view that is beyond their own and discover other points of view about the world, be it a point of view about beauty, our throw-away culture, or what it means to be creative.”

Brooke Colglazier, freshman in hospitality management, said she agreed with Gaynor.

“What makes it special is that it takes objects that some individuals might see as trash and creates art,” Colglazier said.

Ben Huddleston, freshman in fine arts and art committee co-chair, said there is a future for similar art at the Union.

“We are open to featuring more sustainable art,” Huddleston said.

The exhibit will be open on weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. until Sept. 11. The exhibit is in the William T. Kemper Art Gallery located on the first floor of the Student Union.

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