As students await the opening of Donaghey Hall next fall, President Courtway announced on March 3 that the leadership team for the project will be adding a special surprise to decorate the outside of the building.
Courtway, along with art department professor Bryan Massey, revealed that a bear sculpture would be built to hang off the building. They unveiled a scale model, or maquette, of the sculpture on the building.
Massey, who has sculptures on display throughout the southern United States, was chosen to build the bear. He named it Otis after his favorite character from the Andy Griffith Show.
“Otis” will hang from the corner of Donaghey Hall, so that it can be viewed from both Bruce Street and Donaghey Avenue.
The budget for the sculpture will be $63,000. It will be 15 feet long, weigh over a ton and will be made out of stainless steel so that it reflects the change of lighting throughout the day and the change of color as the seasons shift.
Courtway and the leadership team wanted to make Donaghey Hall more influential to the community, so they came up with the idea of hiring a local artist to design a sculpture for the building.
“When you do what I do, come up with a lot of stupid ideas, you turn them over to people who are talented,” Courtway said. “Then that stupid idea becomes a great idea.”
He had the idea of having a cylinder go up and be UCA’s version of Time Square. But what Massey and the design team came up with, he said, was better than Time Square.
When coming up with ideas for the design, Massey presented the design team with several different drawings for the sculpture and they decided on the image of a bear climbing up the side of the building. It took him 75 hours to build the maquette that was shown at the meeting.
Massey wanted this sculpture to be a landmark piece for the building and for the campus.
“It’s going to be a unique piece of sculpture, not only for UCA, but for the city of Conway,” Massey said.
One of the challenges concerning the sculpture is how it will be supported. The sculpture will be approximately 3,000 lbs, so there is an issue of how it will be anchored to the building.
Massey is collaborating with the architect and the engineer to figure out how to place the sculpture on the building without it coming loose. One of the options is to place something underneath the sculpture to ensure that it doesn’t fall.
Massey plans on starting the project as soon as the first shipment of stainless steel comes in, which came in around 6 p.m. on March 7. Massey said that “Otis” would be done by the time Donaghey Hall opens in August of 2016.
This article originally appeared in the March 9, 2016 print edition of The Echo.