Current VPA News

Keith Kobland


When it comes to her latest creation, artist Joan Farrenkopf is interested in what you feel as well as think. In fact, thinking is secondary.

Farrenkopf, a graduate student in the College of Visual and Performing Arts' School of Art, designed and installed her creation, which she calls "Inspirare." In Italian, inspirare means to inspire, to breath in, which is exactly the end result of Farrenkopf's work.

"Inspirare" is a series of long, flowing swaths of colorful fabric draped between the front pillars at Hendricks Chapel. A slight breeze makes it appear as if the artwork has a life of its own.

"I met with (Hendricks Chapel Interim) Dean Sam Clemence to discuss this idea, the intention of contemplation toward resolution, respect in memorial and movement forward, making peace," says Farrenkopf. "It signifies a place, Hendricks Chapel, which stands as a focal place of memorial, advocates integrity and the tenet of peace. People can experience art without engaging in thinking, not having to figure something out, to invite experience," she says. "The artwork focused on this and [Dean Clemence] felt this was a total meaningful piece at the chapel.”

"It was truly a pleasure to work with Joan on her project," says Clemence, who met with Farrenkopf beginning in December to hear more about her plans. "She wanted it in a special location to inspire students, faculty and staff as they traversed the quad. She worked diligently with our physical plant employees to choose the final location—she even had to do some innovative engineering to properly secure the banners on the columns in front of the chapel. The final result is a striking piece of art and we applaud her for making this lovely piece available for all of us to enjoy."

As for the colors, Farrenkopf has her own mythology for the selection. But she's much more interested in yours.

"Its an experiential piece," says Farrenkopf. "It's most important to me that this is the viewer's experience. To hear the comments, the width and breadth of exploration in their experience, is just wonderful."

"Inspirare" will be on display until Wednesday, May 11.