A New Public Art Installation

Honoring the Arlington Community

By Melanie Young

Just as the eyes are the window to the soul, the entrance to a college campus is a window into the community that lives, works, learns, and plays there. For Jacksonville University (JU), that window recently became even more emblematic of the university’s relationship with the Arlington community.

At the site of the turbo traffic roundabout welcoming drivers and pedestrians to campus—the nation’s first such traffic configuration which improves traffic flow, access and, most importantly, safety—JU has installed a “love letter to the Arlington community” in the form of a 20-foot glass-and-steel obelisk, a piece of public art designed by internationally renowned artist Shan Shan Sheng. 

“Shan Shan Sheng’s ‘Obelisk’ stands as a monumental work that recalls the history of our community and invites us to imagine a bold future. Public art humanizes public space,” says Timothy Snyder, dean of the Linda Berry Stein College of Fine Arts & Humanities at JU. “‘Obelisk,’ at the center of the new turbo roundabout, creates a dynamic new civic plaza that we hope will be a source of pride to the citizens of Arlington and city of Jacksonville for generations to come.” 

This piece further contributes to the cultural landscape of Jacksonville and its artistic narrative, highlighting JU’s role as an epicenter for arts, humanities, and scholarly exploration. The work creates a physical connection point between the JU campus and the world, signifying the intellectual and emotional connection between its students and faculty, the Arlington community, and the global arts community. It is another important step toward JU’s goal to expand access to the arts beyond its campus borders to the local community.

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Author: Arbus

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