You’re seven stops into the Whitman College Outdoor Sculpture Walk! With a picnic lunch under your belt (quite literally), you are ready to take on the last half of this self-guided art walk.
From ‘Narnia’ to Japan and beyond…
Proceed in the opposite direction of the Narnia archway along College Creek. There you’ll see a tiki that celebrates the many Whitman College students from Hawaii and the Polynesian Islands.
Your art walk continues along College Creek to the end of the pond known as Lakum Duckum for stop #10. The stone lantern at the west end of Lakum Duckum was part of a Japanese garden presented to the college by Mr. and Mrs. Tokuzo Yasu of Tokyo in memory of their son Kinji’s graduation from Whitman in 1962.
Look south across Boyer Avenue and see a colorful rainbow of steel and glass – Imagination and Understanding: Phusis and Techne by Doug Ludlow (class of 2000). Ludlow’s inspiration for this piece of welded steel and panes of layered glass is the Golden Section, or Divine Proportion, which in nature relates to such forms as the nautilus shell and the sunflower blossom.
Keep walking west along Boyer Avenue, cross Otis Street and pass the Baker Faculty Center to take in #12 on our sculpture walk: Carnival, commonly known on campus as “Venus.” An internationally known artist with roots in the Pop Art of the 1960s, Jim Dine used a chain saw to form Carnival from a single tree, then cast it in bronze at the Walla Walla Foundry.
Continue west and turn to the left at the sign for Prentiss Hall, following the trail along College Creek. You will come to an installation surrounded by the creek’s water. This is Topophilia Gates, made in 1999 by Keiko Hara, a Whitman professor of art from 1985 to 2006. Hara drew inspiration for this piece from a temple in Mon, Japan. The water flowing through Hara’s gates represents the passage from one realm to another.
Move downstream toward the back of Hunter Conservatory and the Prentiss Bridge. Keep your eyes peeled for the glint of shiny steel among the trees. The temples that artist Lee Kelly visited in Cambodia were the inspiration for Angkor IV, the fourteenth installation on our Outdoor Sculpture Walk.
Cross Prentiss Bridge and look between the creek and the Hall of Music to see Pirouette, by Micajah Bienvenu (class of 1986). This rotating piece is an example of the bronze and stainless steel sculptures Bienvenu creates assisted by computer technology.
Walk across Park Street and proceed to the back lawn of Reid Campus Center. In the far corner, behind an evergreen tree, is another Lee Kelly sculpture: Four Columns. This steel and enamel sculpture was created in 1988 based on ancient columns discovered in central Persia. The sculpture was acquired in 2002 with funds from the Garvin Family Art Fund.
Stops 17-20 on the Outdoor Sculpture Art Walk
Walk back toward Park Street, turn left past the Reid Campus Center, and cross Boyer Avenue. On your left, you’ll see the multipiece, multilevel Soaring Stones #4. A 2007 gift from artist John T. Young, Soaring Stones #4 graced downtown Portland for 16 years before light-rail construction forced its removal. It is a series of multiton Cascade Mountain boulders atop polished steel pillars, ascending in height to 12 feet, 4 inches.
Pass the front of Cordiner Hall, and you can’t miss the colorful sculpture Discobolos by Robert Cronin. Cronin created Discobolos from corten steel which was then painted in primary colors. It was a gift from the Board of Trustees to former President Tom Cronin and Tania Cronin to mark their 10th anniversary of service to Whitman in 2003.
Cross Park Street and up the steps of the Sherwood Athletic Center, and you’ll immediately see your next destination. Joined Together, Let No Man Split Asunder is a magnificent 14-foot-tall sculpture from an aluminum alloy. The artist, Ed Humpherys, was a professor of art at Whitman from 1973 to 1997, and the piece was originally installed on the lawn north of Memorial Building in 1980. In 2008 it fell victim to a tree toppled in a windstorm. After restoration, it was reinstalled in this new location.
Continue through the Sherwood Center plaza and emerge to the sound of splashing water. Fountain of Vibrant Waters, by George Tsutakawa, is a vibrant experience for the eyes and ears dedicated to Nadine and Robert Skotheim, Whitman’s 10th president. The work is inspired by Japanese pagodas and Tibetan obos, rock mounds made by trekkers in the Himalayas. Tsutakawa has created more than 60 bronze fountains across the country.
The grand finale of your art walk is aptly entitled Triumphant Arc. A crescent steel sculpture at the entrance to Harper Joy Theater, Triumphant Arc is the second installation by Micajah Bienvenu on your sculpture walk. This is an interactive piece, so get up close and rotate Triumphant Arc in triumph. Your art walk is finished!
But wait! There’s more!
Next time you take the tour, it may face another direction. Opposite the Harper Joy Theater, you’ll see the back of Penrose Library. Follow along to the right, turn left and look for the bright yellow Balancing Act (1989, Jim Wood) in the trees on the south side of the library. This painted stainless steel sculpture was given to the college in memory of Reine Hillis, class of 1965.
Look again toward Ankeny Field, and in the southwest corner you’ll see the popular final stop on this tour: Three Stories by Squire Broel. A Walla Walla artist, Broel drew inspiration from Hong Kong’s fish markets in crafting Three Stories in 1997. In China, the carp represents prosperity; by scarring its surface, Broel suggests the loss of values in the quest for wealth. The sculpture was cast in bronze at the Walla Walla Foundry.
Wrapping up the Whitman College Art Walk
You have traveled the world in an afternoon, from China to the Himalayas, the Pacific Northwest to Narnia. You have also walked approximately 1.5 miles while taking in the incredible talents of artists from across the world. All that travel can work up a powerful thirst. We suggest a celebratory toast downtown at a local tasting room such as DAMA Wines, where art is on display in a different form. Or, if you’ve already burned off your picnic lunch, consider Happy Hour or an early dinner at TMACS Walla Walla.
The Whitman College Outdoor Sculpture Tour is one of many ways that visitors to Walla Walla can experience the world in a single afternoon. Make this fun and educational self-guided tour a part of your Walla Walla itinerary: it’s more than worth the trip.
To access a printable guide to the Whitman College Outdoor Sculpture Walk, click here.