Art & Engineering, Penn State, Erie | Erie, PA (2016)

Member News

September 27, 2018


This story was submitted to The Hub by artist and CEO/Co-Founder Todd Scalise of Higherglyphics in Erie, PA.

The artist worked directly with the university to create an original artwork for the Advanced Manufacturing and Innovation Center at Penn State Erie, The Behrend College. Unveiled in 2016 it consists of seven murals covering more than 350 square feet as well as two sculptures (one indoor and one outdoor).

We asked Todd a few questions about how this project unfolded: an interesting look at a project from an artist’s perspective.

How was the university and its surrounding community involved in the formulation or implementation of this project?

Students from Penn State Erie, The Behrend College were involved in the creation of the artwork for their new engineering building, The Advanced Manufacturing and Innovation Center (AMIC) in the form of an arts and industry multidisciplinary collaboration with my company, Higherglyphics. We worked with Arts Administration students to help source and plan the project. Engineering students were instrumental in stress testing the two sculptures and a Digitial Arts student created all of the 3-D modeling for the sculptures based on my drawings that were then used for fabrication.

From the very beginning, our idea was to create artwork that somehow relates to the same things that Penn State’s AMIC building relates to – the topography, the geology, and the location and culture of Erie.

What was that interaction like?

This article does a great job of describing how the project unfolded.

Is there any ongoing dialogue between you and the university?

Yes – Higherglyphics utilizes Behrend’s Arts Administration students through ongoing internships where students learn how to create community art projects.

Is there any additional artistic programming in the building today?

The building is primarily used for the engineering program. However, since the artwork is a meditation on two highly relevant aspects of engineering: materials and processes, it is used to stimulate dialogue about the creative process involved in engineering.

Do you have any sense of how the work impacts the people who use the building on a daily basis?

The artwork was designed to work with the architecture and is the most prominent feature of the building. The artwork is used in recruitment because it is a real-life example of student involvement. There is no better recruitment tool than that!