Mary Baldwin University is celebrating the arrival of Majestad V, a sculpture by internationally recognized artist Betty Gold, an installation that celebrates the connection between art and nature.
Gold joined faculty and staff August 25 to dedicate the sculpture and newly sprouted native grasses and flowers on Cannon Hill.
The college hopes that the combination of the sculpture and the native meadow will continue to bring members of the Staunton community onto campus.
“We’re trying to increase interest in the natural environment through the arts,” said Bruce Dorries, associate professor of communication and one of the driving forces behind both the acquisition of the statue and the native plantings project on campus. “It’s good for Mary Baldwin, promotes sustainable landscaping, and adds to the city’s cultural attractions. We profit — along with other people and the planet — from such innovative partnerships.”
A fitting tribute to the project, the 8-foot-tall red steel sculpture resembles a cardinal flower, one of Dorries’ favorite native forbs.
“The plateau outside of Pannill [student center] will, with luck and work, become a setting for more such exciting expressions of innovation, as well as for spiritual renewal,” said Dorries of the area around the sculpture that will soon be filled with a new garden, benches, and a walkway.
Majestad V is the second sculpture Gold’s patrons, Mr. and Mrs. David Chatkin of Turtle Creek, Pennsylvania, have donated to the school. The first, S. J. C. IV — a white, intricately folded sculpture and fondly known by students as “Origami” — was installed between the Deming Fine Arts Building and Kable Hall in 2000.
A full-page image of the new sculpture will appear in an issue of Art in America, a contemporary art magazine, sometime in the next year.