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Artocracy: Manhole Covers As Art

todayOctober 23, 2013 43

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    Artocracy: Manhole Covers As Art

Artocracy: Manhole Covers As Art by Elise Laird

San Marcos and Texas State have combined ideas to get the students more involved with the city as a whole by designing the logo for the drain manhole covers that prevent toxins from reaching the rivers.

Manhole Cover
The City of San Marcos is holding a contest to design their new manhole covers

The city of San Marcos with the collaboration of Texas State has collaborated on a contest that asks those interested to design a logo for the city’s drain manhole covers. This program is part of a clean water act that pertains to public education and outreach. The contest is currently accepting applicants and you can find out more information on the City of San Marcos’s website.

We all know that the vibrant scenery surrounding Texas State is in part due to the river’s effect on the atmosphere. These drain manhole covers will inhibit toxins, such as oil, from reaching our rivers!

Drainage Maintenance Crew Leader Shawn Wolfshohl is a contest judge. Wolfshohl, along with a few other city leaders, put their heads together to find an interactive way for the university to get involved.

“Together we brainstormed up this idea for this art contest to raise awareness of water quality issues. We are accepting applicants until November the 1st and then we will start our judging process.”
– Shawn Wolfshohl

Wow! A Texas State student’s design will not only be advertised throughout San Marcos, but actually improve the city’s water! Looks like we all win to me. Art allows a more in depth interpretation of how one perceives the world. This is an opportunity that allows a sense of community.

“This will become the standard design for San Marcos. This is really a great opportunity for the residents of San Marcos and the students of the university to come together and work as a whole community instead of two individual communities to improve life in this area.”
– Shawn Wolfshohl

The point is to send a message as a whole and get involved. As art students, we are pushed to experience all mediums, and this competition allows the freedom to express our experiences with San Marcos and Texas State. Art is an expressed emotion denoted to those who will see it. How does water affect an artist and those who thrive in it!? Wolfshohl may not claim himself to be an artist, but as a judge he does see more than just what’s on the surface.

“People don’t realize how much water quality affects you,” Wolfshohl says. ” Ya know it is the water we drink, it’s the water we swim in, fish in, ya know just go down and have a good time hanging out and looking at it.”

This contest is about taking care of the city while recognizing the university’s involvement. It allows citizens to discover and be conscious of the city we all share together.

“If we can use this contest to raise the awareness of what is going into the river and how we can keep it out, to me it is a win win situation,” Wolfshohl says.

Many others surrounding the San Marcos area feel similar to Wolfsohl. English senior Courtney Simchak has lived in San Marcos for a decade and has witnessed a lot of changes within the city and Texas State. Simchak says this contest will help show citizens that we do and can all work as a whole.

“The people in San Marcos, the communities in San Marcos, the things that are happening are so intrinsically linked with what is happening in the university and with what is happening in town,” Wolfshohl says. “So if we can have a project like this where everyone can pull their strings together, I think it is a really good representation of what the community can do together.”

Art is a message and can bring people together. With that, this contest is not secluded to art majors. With what appears to be just another art competition is actually a communal message that holds a lot more depth, leaving room for everyone to get involved.

Simchak, who is minoring in art, says there’s a common misconception that if you’re not an art major you are not creative, but there are a lot of strengths in creating art without majoring in the field.

“Just because you haven’t taken a bunch of art classes, or you don’t have an art history major, or you haven’t sketched in a while doesn’t mean you can’t have something really important to offer this project,” Simchak says. “So people working in the geography department might have some really good ideas about what would be an important message about water pollution.

Simchak says everything we know about art and design comes from what we observe in the natural world and our experiences with in it. We all have access to the essential beauty of the world, such as the trees and rivers. Simchack says this project will help improve our ability to be aware of our surroundings.

When you’re thinking something as insignificant as manhole covers, it’s one of those things that we pass all the time when we are walking to class, when people are walking around downtown we don’t really think about it,” Simchak says. “To have a chance to bring this element of design and this concept of paying attention to what is going around in nature; I think that’s one of those really beautiful things about San Marcos.”

Simchak crochets and has a background in photography. If she were going to be putting together something for this contest she says she would take elements from photographs and integrate them into a drawing.

“To try and figure out a way to integrate the tactile experience of water and being at the river and why it is so important to protect it, “Simchak says.

The people of the San Marcos community are excited about collaborating on this project. Like Simchak says, there is art and design all around us, so start drafting San Marcos!

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