By: Chelsea Lamar, Arts And Entertainment Editor
Walking through campus students pass many odd statues, from naked people to rocks that have some type of special meaning. A statue that stands out in particular is the “Tonal Sculpture,” which is located outside the main entrance of Haas Center for the Arts.
The matched pair of cor-ten steel and black fiberglass reflectors, also known as the “Tonal Sculpture,” was acquired in April 1973 as a result of a grant from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s Council on the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts in Washington, D.C. It was the first grant of this type by the Arts Council for a work of art.
A lot of planning was involved before the artwork arrived on campus. Dr. Percival Roberts, Karl Beamer, and Robert Koslosky, members or the Bloomsburg State College Department of Art in 1973, examined models of the “Tonal Sculpture” prior to the installation. It was decided that the sculpture was to be displayed outside of Haas and it has remained there ever since.
The artwork was administered by Bloomsburg University’s Art Department. The sculpture was put on display on Osuna Drive, outside the main entrance of the Haas Center for the Arts. Unlike other statues on campus, the “Tonal Sculpture” has not moved since it arrived on campus.
The “Tonal Sculpture” is made out of steel and fiberglass. It stands eight feet high and stands 16 feet apart. Two black-painted concave dishes lean back to back against a metal support. The way the figures are positioned, anyone caught in between the sculptures can hear any sound echoed through the artwork as the sound bounces side to side. An interesting feature of the “Tonal Sculpture” is that catches many people, ignorant of its features, by surprise. It is famous for the echoes of people’s voices.
Joe Moss created the pair of acoustic sculptures. The sculptures grew out of Moss’ research in auditory environmental sculpture, which was sponsored by University of Delaware Research Foundation.
Moss was a nationally known creator of auditory-kinetic environmental sculptures. He has won over 30 painting and sculpture awards. In 1977, he held an exhibition of his “sensory environments” at J.B. Speed Art Museum in Louisville, Kentucky. When the sculpture was established, Moss was an associate professor of art at the University of Delaware in Newark. He since retired in 1998.
When the statues were first instituted, many students enjoyed walking through the statues. Some students put out decorations around the sculptures. “Students once put robots between the sculptures,” said BU Archivist Robert Dunkelberger. The reason why students did this remains unclear but it is assumed they did it for a homecoming event.
Now as students walk by Haas they can see the artwork by Moss. If anyone is curious enough to check it out, they can stand in between the two statues to hear the echoes of their own voices. What makes this sculpture so great is that it relies on the interaction of people to heighten its effectiveness.
For people who enter Haas, whether for a Celebrity Artist Series event or an art gallery, they have the pleasure of walking past the “Tonal Sculpture.” The sculpture has an artistic value that truly adds to the aesthetic climate on campus.