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New art piece unveiled in Beamish-Munro Hall

  • Dean of the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science Kim Woodhouse welcomes former principal Bill Leggett and his wife Claire, at Beamish-Munro Hall.
    Dean of the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science Kim Woodhouse welcomes former principal Bill Leggett and his wife Claire, at Beamish-Munro Hall.
  • Former principal Bill Leggett speaks during the unveiling ceremony on Thursday, Oct. 13 of the art piece 'synapse,' that is dedicated to the 17th principal of Queen's.
    Former principal Bill Leggett speaks during the unveiling ceremony on Thursday, Oct. 13 of the art piece 'synapse,' that is dedicated to the 17th principal of Queen's.
  • Former principal Bill Leggett speaks during the unveiling ceremony on Thursday, Oct. 13 of the art piece 'synapse,' that is dedicated to the 17th principal of Queen's.
    Former principal Bill Leggett speaks during the unveiling ceremony on Thursday, Oct. 13 of the art piece 'synapse,' that is dedicated to the 17th principal of Queen's.
  • Adorning the front foyer of Beamish-Munro Hall, 'synapse' was created by artist Kwest, with the collaboration of a number of students from the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science.
    Adorning the front foyer of Beamish-Munro Hall, 'synapse' was created by artist Kwest, with the collaboration of a number of students from the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science.

Homecoming this year marks the inauguration of a new artwork piece featured the front foyer of Beamish-Munro Hall.

The 38-foot-tall sculpture of steel, wood, acrylic and paint is meant to add dramatic impact to the entryway and to symbolise the intersection of art and engineering. Toronto artist Kwest completed and installed the work the first week of September.

“It’s creating something that could last at Queen’s for generations,” Kwest says. “I see it as an awesome opportunity. The space is amazing. This city is amazing. It’s been a really cool process.”

The process of creating the piece spanned six months. Earlier this spring Kwest and a group of Queen’s engineering students gathered for two days to workshop ideas. Together they visited the Agnes Etherington Art Centre and the Queen’s University Archives to gather inspiration. They talked a lot about engineering at Queen’s, the creative aspects of engineering design and the legacy the new piece represents.

“In most public art calls, you submit your ideas and all the work falls to you,” Kwest says. “In this case, the collaboration with students was unique. It’s one thing that really appealed to me about this installation: being able to create a piece with the students who actually go here and know what this place is about. It’s about getting a better understanding about what’s actually happening here.”

Queen’s engineering student Max Lindley-Peart is one of those who worked with Kwest in the spring.

“It was really interesting doing a bit of background research behind the piece, trying to understand what we wanted to represent,” he says. “What does it mean to be part of Queen’s engineering? What is the history of Queen’s? How is that going to play into the piece? I really enjoyed that process.”

The piece, eventually named ‘synapse,’ was dedicated, Thursday, Oct. 13 by Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science Dean Kim Woodhouse in honour of Queen’s 17th principal and vice-chancellor William C. Leggett.

“My personal favourite time to see the art is at night,” says Lindley-Peart. “I love biking by on my way home after class. It’s so wonderful with the lights. It’s a really nice introduction to the space and I can’t wait to see the plaque that explains what’s going on in it.”