Ascend, a pair of interacting 20-foot stainless steel sculptures to be permanently placed in front of the new Centre for Art and Theatre on the campus of Georgia Southern University, will distinguish the facility as a major cultural center in southeastern Georgia. The project was funded in 2001 by former Georgia Governor Carl Sanders to celebrate the wedding anniversary to his wife, Betty Foy Sanders, and will stand as a monument to Mrs. Sander’s commitment and continued support of the fine arts in southeastern Georgia.
Throughout her life, Betty Foy Sanders has been an exceptional leader in politics, education, and the arts. At many of her public speaking engagements, Mrs. Sanders has included a stanza from an unknown poet: My life shall touch a dozen lives before this day is done. Appropriately, this line denotes the demonstrated impact her generous spirit and phenomenal support has had on the people of Georgia regardless of their constituency. Her inspirational legacy provides the core spirit of the Betty Foy Sanders Department of Art where a community of artists-both students and professionals-thrive. Keeping with Mrs. Sanders’ spirit, the department provides a quality formal visual arts education with an emphasis on social consciousness.
Georgia Southern University’s Professor of Sculpture Marc Moulton was selected from a large survey of Georgia-connected artists to design and create the sculptures. Professor Moulton has experience creating large-scale public commissions and working with stainless steel. Professor Moulton has exhibited extensively throughout the United States and has been represented by several professional galleries in Ohio, Utah, Illinois, and Iowa.
While creating Ascend, Professor Moulton drew inspiration from native southern Georgia forms including the long-leafed pine, the magnolia, and the ocean waves along the coast. In addition, Ascend incorporates the idea of the flight of an eagle, a symbol and mascot for Georgia Southern University. Ascend catches the feeling and sense of uplift, or flight, that visual arts and education can provide.
Ascend will be fabricated of stainless steel at the extensively-equipped Ceramics and Sculpture Building at Georgia Southern University. The project will be created through a process of computer modeling, automated laser-cutting, and MIG/TIG welding. An appropriate foundation will be constructed at the site to secure and distribute the sculpture’s weight and dynamic loads. With an emphasis on hands-on teaching, Professor Moulton will include select advanced students in the sculpture-making process. This will provide students with valuable knowledge of and experience with a professional commission.
The sculpture is designed to fit and enhance the entrance for the new Centre for Art and Theatre. It will serve as the aesthetic focal point for the building and celebrate the activities held there. Night time lighting will enable Ascend to act as a physical locator for this contemporary visual arts exhibition center on campus. The lighting also conceptually represents the enlightened ideals of visual arts in society.