In May 2016, university trustee Dennis Alter gifted the money for the acquisition and installation of fine art in the building. The university planned to spend an additional $500,000 for a curator, James Dicker, the former vice president of institutional advancement, told The Temple News in May 2016.
The artwork placements didn’t begin until August. The projected completion date and its official unveiling will be in early 2018, said Rebecca O’Leary, the art adviser and curator for the project.
Steven Baris, who received his MFA from the Tyler School of Art in 1985, Paula Cahill, a 2009 fine arts alumna and ceramics professor Roberto Lugo are among several professors and alumni with artwork on display.
Lugo is one of the featured artists. His work entitled “Hustle” is in the second floor stairwell near the Student Center Operations office. It depicts a panda on a graffiti style background, which he said is inspired by the collective struggle people from all disciplines feel to persevere and find success.
“[‘Hustle’] refers to where I come from,” said Lugo, who grew up in Philadelphia. “That’s really what everyone aspires to do, which is to work hard, and so that same thing can be adapted to just about any pursuit that one wants to take on, and in my case it’s art.”
The art installation project can have many more benefits for students beyond decorative appeal, Lugo added.
“Seeing things visually really speaks to us in a different way,” he said. “The visual arts provide for a whole different sect of society to be able to communicate their ideas and what’s important to them.”
“This is artwork that is going to activate and enliven the Student Center in common areas, and in unexpected areas,” O’Leary said.
The majority of Alter’s gift was used for the acquisition of artwork, while the remainder was used to purchase lighting to highlight the pieces. The walls will also be labeled to describe the significance of the artwork, O’Leary added.
“Trustee Alter is a huge supporter of modern art and wants students to experience that art while on campus,” said Jason Levy, senior director of Student Center Operations. “The hope is that students have an experience that is really positive by seeing this art that [Alter] is sharing with us as a gift to the Student Center.” Read more