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New mural brings fresh paint to old fountain

by Kiara Alfonseca - Staff Writer
Tue, Nov 28th 2017 09:00 pm

On your way to or from class, through the wind and the snow, you might notice the Special Olympics Fountain surrounded by bright orange cones and unfamiliar pale blue swirls encompassing its base. That’s the work of Nate Hodge, as he immerses the six statues and fountain with his art.

The College at Brockport icon formally known as the Fountain of Joy and Happiness to all the Children of the World, a gift from the Soviet Union in 1979, is Hodge’s newest project. The local artist and ‘13 Brockport alumnus wants his art to engage with and supplement the style of the USSR-based fountain and sculpture, doing research into the fountain’s creator, Zurab Tsereteli, to match his swirls and pools of color to the artist origins. 

“I wanted to make a piece that complimented the setting rather than dominating it, something that accentuated the lines and shapes which are present in the fountain,” Hodge wrote in an email. “The colors I chose reflect the greys within the cobbles surrounding the fountain with a number of blues to reference water.”

Working on the Brockport campus is nothing new either; the radiant mural overtaking the underpass between North and South campus by alumnus Daniel Hopkins in 2014 contained the work of Hodge along the northwest wall. Taking a stroll throughout Rochester also sparks insight into the mind of Hodge and the work he’s done throughout the region. 

The corner of Atlantic Avenue and Crouch Street is the site of one of Hodge’s creations for WALL/THERAPY, a local organization that creates murals throughout the city to inspire passersby.

Hodge’s specialty, site-specific, large-scale murals with unusual landscapes to drive his creations, caters greatly to the work he’ll be doing on the South Campus, but basing his work off the fountain has created a challenge of its own. 

“The materials are different, the process is more planned out than how I

usually work, and working with/around an existing sculpture within a designed landscape is different,” Hodge wrote. 

The new mural fits in with Brockport’s immersion of art into each aspect of its campus. Chairs that double as sculptures line the halls of the Liberal Arts Building; Prometheus stands tall before the Allen Administration Building; the curved walls of the Tower Fine Arts staircases are marked with the stories of art students’ past.

Hodge is channeling his past experiences for the new piece by using his love of art to engage the countless wanderers who will pass his mural upon completion. 

Hodge takes delight in knowing that those who view his abstract work will take part in their own personal understanding of the shapes, images and creations of his imagination.

“Art is a form of communication that is capable of expressing things we can’t fit into words, as well as forging connections with others who may not speak a shared spoken language,” Hodge wrote. “Abstract work especially has the ability to be universally interpreted and encourages the creation of multiple narratives, so the passion would be for telling visual stories, but more importantly, encouraging others to create stories.”

Keep an eye out for the completion of the project as the end of fall semester nears, to create your own narrative among the five pillars on your walk across campus. 

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