Prize Doors & Stairs

Prize Doors & Stairs

When UM School of Art and Design Professor Satoru Takahashi and the students in his “Mental Ecology” class set out to transform the stairwell of SPH II from a “cold and isolated place” into a space for “meditation and mediation,” they also created an SPH StairMaster. “While we were installing our work,” says student artist Kristen Lee Hodson, “we met a woman who told us she’d walked all the way up to the sixth floor and back to see what we’d done. That’s what we hoped would happen!” Art and health belong together, Takahashi told the crowd at the opening reception for the work in April. Floor by floor, the new installation leads you from the depths of the sea through meadows, forest, and mountains to a glittering moon made of keys.

Art of another sort

looking at the moon made of keysThere are more than 2,000 doors in the school’s combined buildings, hundreds of which belong to faculty and staff offices. On a recent walk through the school, we took an informal survey of office-door data, and while our research might not pass muster with a statistician, we can report the following: Health behavior and health education faculty post the most on their doors, biostatisticians the least. Environmental health sciences doors run a close second to HBHE, but are less political, and the humor is whackier (maybe it’s the chemicals?). There are two avid Tar Heel basektball fans on the SPH faculty and dozens of extremely proud parents. The Department of Health Management and Policy appears to have the most cat and dog lovers (with cats outnumbering dogs by a slight margin), and staff members in epidemiology show a fondness for angels. We found flyers everywhere for lectures and events, lots of safety reminders, a few nods to current events (tainted pet food, recent ballot issues), plenty of cartoons, a welcome wreath, and an image of Che Guevara sporting a Bart Simpson T-shirt.

Photos by Peter Smith.

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Look for more art at UM SPH in months to come. Ruth Mott Foundation in Flint, Michigan, has made funding available for murals and sculpture at the school; commissions are being handled by the Greater Flint Arts Council.