Woods Quad addition showcases potential for love, growth, forward mobility

Savannah Ichikawa, Contributing Writer

Officially dedicated in August 2014 by College of Arts and Sciences Dean Emeritus Robert Olin, the Woods Quad Sculpture Garden is a unique space on campus that features sculptures from local artists. 

The art displayed in Woods Quad comes from students, alumni and even faculty members. Some sculptures were made in collaboration between multiple colleges on campus. The Fibonacci piece, a stainless steel spiral, was created by students from the College of Engineering and the interior design department of the College of Arts and Sciences. 

Last semester UA’s department of art and art history added a new sculpture titled “Flourish” to the garden. 

Seated on the garden’s right side, “Flourish,” created by UA alumna and local artist Ringo Lisko, is a crescent moon consisting of several hundred individually cast camellia flowers. Camellias are the state flower of Alabama, and Lisko used them as a symbol of continual growth and change.

The original proposal for the sculpture described it as a design intended to “embody the ideas of growth, connections, and potential.” The camellias are not only significant to Alabama’s state history, but they are also commonly seen as symbols of love, nurture and passion. 

Lisko used the camellias and the crescent shape to give the sculpture more emotional weight and impact, describing the piece as “a narrative of human potential—the potential to grow, love, and move forward.”

Selected by the McMahon-Pleiad Public Art Trail initiative, this piece is the result of a collaborative sculpture project two years in the making. Lisko, along with colleague Jonathan Lanier, welded each blossom onto the 8-foot semicircular framework so that it could be installed on campus. 

“It is definitely the biggest and longest piece I have consecutively worked on,” Lisko said. “They wanted something that sort of united the [Alabama] campuses, and played into Alabama’s history.”

Lisko is a foundry specialist at the University and has other pieces on display in Tuscaloosa, but “Flourish” is her first permanent display. 

Recently, however, Lisko opened a solo exhibition of her sculpture, “Vessels of Paranoia,” at Harrison Galleries. The exhibition will remain open from 6 to 9 p.m. until Sunday, Jan. 30. 

Questions? Email the Culture desk at culture@cw.ua.edu.