Baker unveils new art for 150th anniversary
Karen Jacks has left her mark on Baker University's sesquicentennial celebration.
Her year-in-the-making artwork was unveiled last Thursday in the lower level of Baker's Collins Library. Jacks, a local artist, created five assemblages for Baker's 150th anniversary.
Baker held a ceremony last week to show the pieces to the public for first time. President Pat Long, Jacks and other Baker dignitaries were on hand for the unveiling.
"The assemblages and Karen's attention to detail have captured the essence
and traditions of Baker's four schools," said Steve Rottinghaus, Baker spokesman. "Memorabilia showcased in the artwork sparked a lot of memories for the campus community."
Last Thursday marked the first time Jacks had seen her work in the display cases that they will be shown in. She was excited about the way her year-long project turned out.
"I was very pleased," Jacks said. "They looked beautiful behind glass. It gave them more of a museum look. I couldn't have been more pleased."
Five pieces of art were unveiled last week, including the main one "150 Years at Baker." Assemblages are a three-dimensional arrangement of items such as wood, metal, paper, ceramics, castings or fabric.
The main piece sits in a large glass case and covers the 150 years that Baker has existed as Kansas' first university. It includes a photograph of Baker's first graduating class and objects that represent the current university.
The other four pieces are much smaller. They are "School of Nursing," "School of Education," "School of Professional and Graduate Studies" and "Baker Athletics."
Baker Athletic Director Dan Harris attended the ceremony and enjoyed how the athletic assemblage turned out.
"I really liked it," Harris said. "I went down and saw Karen working on it from time to time. It was always amazing to see the transition each time I saw it. She is an amazing artist and they all look fantastic."
Jacks started the project in August 2006 after talking to Annette Galluzzi, vice president for marketing. Beginning the project was difficult at first for Jacks, but once the idea was established, she began collecting artifacts and objects to use in the primary piece.
"I presented Baker with a layout that I had created that showed a timeline of events in Baker's history," Jacks said. "We had hoped to get a lot of memorabilia. I began by documenting photographs through the yearbooks, which became the background."
After finding old photographs, Jacks soon began working on the buildings that represent Baker University. She said the project was slightly difficult, because she was working on it as it was standing.
"I constructed the buildings first, that I way I would know exactly where those would be spatially," Jacks said. "It's really challenging to work on a piece that large when you can't lay it down."
The assemblages can be seen in the lower level of Collins Library. Jacks also has other work on display at Art Affair, located at Seventh and High streets, through September.