Departments debate kiln yard aesthetics
Augustana’s finance and administration and art departments have been attempting to find a compromise about the cluttered, industrial appearance of the kiln yard behind the Center for Visual Arts.
The two main solutions being considered are installing fence slats, which would cost $1,000, or just tidying up the yard, with the latter being the more likely choice.
“I don’t know that there have been any complaints,” said Tom Meyer, vice president of finance and administration. “It’s just maybe over time we’ve noticed it’s become less tidy.”
Meyer said that this summer facilities staff suggested that fence slats—metallic pieces woven through chain-link fences—usually for the purpose of privacy or wind blocking, could be installed on the fence that encircles the kiln yard.
The fence slats would partially block the view of the yard in an effort to “tidy up the campus a bit and create a better visual,” Meyer said.
Fence slats could also be used as an opportunity to promote Augustana, Meyer said. Augustana advertisements could be hung on the fence similar to the fences around the tennis courts.
The art department, however, opposes the fence slats. The fence slats raise two major issues: health and safety.
They have the potential to obstruct the airflow in the kiln yard, and such changes could affect both the way the kilns fire and the way the fumes are vented.
Art department chair Lindsay Twa believes that the view of the kiln yard should not be blocked at all.
“Just as we have our new Froiland Center with the big glass windows, advocating that it’s ‘science on display,’ an open kiln yard is art,” Twa said. “It’s a working, artistic creative space. Having the kiln yard and foundry visible, we feel, is important. We want people to be interested in taking a look at what is going on in that space.”
Finance and administration and the art department have also discussed installing additional shelving to lessen the clutter in the yard, the back of which could also be used as a space to hang announcements about various creative events occurring on campus.
Alternative suggestions include just cleaning up the yard, which the art department has already begun.
“We identified areas that could be picked up or made more orderly, if that is what they were concerned about,” Twa said. “So that’s the compromise.”
“We’ve actually started already,” ceramics professor Gerry Punt said. “We’ve thrown away some of the junk that we don’t need out there, and we’re going to try to stack the bricks a little better.”