Sculptor lectures for upcoming piece on campus

Mallory Kaul

Sculptor and storyteller Beth Nybeck combines the outstanding drive of the ULM student body with an imaginative art piece to be installed in late spring. 

Nybeck explained her upcoming project with students and faculty in a guest lecture hosted at the Hangar. She hopes to implement a structure on ULM’s campus featuring students’ answers to the open statement, “I am going to…” 

This piece, planned to be placed between the HUB and Sandel Hall, will be made entirely of metal and emulate the shape of an abstract human head. The project is named “Here We Go” to represent the forward motion of ULM students’ futures.

“College is your most formative period,” Nybeck said. “I want to know what students’ eyes are set on at this particular moment in time.”

To give the audience a better idea of her goal, Nybeck shared photos of her previous works for other communities and explained the consistent theme throughout her art.

For example, she presented her 2012 installation of a massive blue wave in Indianapolis, entitled Crescendo. This work was composed entirely of 400 plexiglass tiles, each bearing an answer to the question “What have you discovered?” by a resident of Broad Ripple, Indianapolis.

During the Q&A session following the lecture, the audience was able to learn more about Nybeck’s creative process and inspiration. Many of her sculptures imitate plants or other elements from nature, to which she attributes her childhood spent in the woods of Kansas. 

She chose to pursue public sculptures because she believes art should always be accessible. 

When asked why metal is her preferred craft, Nybeck replied, “As an artist, you need to pick a medium that matches your personality. For me, metal was the most forgiving of all the materials.”

A 3D-printed model of the future campus sculpture could be found at the lecture, which mounted enthusiasm as the attendees filled out Nybeck’s “I am going to…” prompt. 

Skylar Henry, a communications major at ULM, was excited to have attended the event and looks forward to the installation of the sculpture. 

“I think it’s phenomenal, and I’m super excited,” Henry said. “Especially now, having come to the event and seen the design for the sculpture in person.”

More than anything, Nybeck hopes to build bridges with her art. She hopes that trust and relationships can form by slowing down and appreciating the beauty of the craft.