'Garden of Great Ideas' brings original sculptures to campus  printer 

by Ellie Shick

A new partnership between the Newington-Cropsey Foundation and Vanderbilt University will enhance campus beauty and artistry, announced Chancellor Joe B. Wyatt at the May 1 dedication of the Bill of Rights Eagle sculpture near Old Central.

During the next three to five years, the NCF will donate between 15 and 20 original bronze sculptures for placement throughout campus. The collection will be known as the "Garden of Great Ideas."

"The garden's paramount aim is to celebrate the process of education and to pay tribute to the great ideas of civilization," said Chancellor Wyatt. "This generous gift will memorialize the marriage of scholarship and artistry."

The NCF is a non-profit organization devoted to the study and exhibit of original paintings by Jasper F. Cropsey and the collection of 19th century American Hudson River School artists located in Hastings-on-Hudson, New York. In conjunction with the new partnership, the NCF donated the Bill of Rights Eagle sculpture created by Greg Wyatt, director of the NCF Academy of Art.

The garden's final piece, to be located on the east lawn in front of the Jean and Alexander Heard Library, will be created by Greg Wyatt and titled, "Tree of Knowledge." The additional works will be completed by apprentices of the NCF Academy of Art, working in concert with Vanderbilt students and faculty.

"It is the goal to create not only a beautiful public garden for meditation and tribute to the human mind, but also to cultivate the young minds of our future generations by a process of exploration, experimentation and investigation," Greg Wyatt said. "By dipping into the fountain of knowledge and testing the depths, these young acolytes will realize that there is much to learn, that there are infinite ways of learning and that there will always be infinite opportunities for them to contribute their own treasures to the world's storehouse of knowledge."

Greg Wyatt is also the sculptor-in-residence at New York's Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine, where he created the 40-foot-high Peace Fountain, the first outdoor children's sculpture garden. His work can be found in many private and public collections. Among his best-known public sculpture commissions are the heroic scale bronze Olympic Woman for the global corporate headquarters of Avon Inc., the 10-foot-high Eagle at the Wall Street area headquarters of the American Bureau of Shipping, and the Fantasy Fountain in Gramercy Park, all in New York City; the James Cash Penney Standing Portrait monument for the headquarters building of J.C. Penney Company in Plano, Texas; and the DNA-inspired Life Forces at American Cyanamid in Pearl River, New York.

In 1990 and 1994, Greg Wyatt was featured on CBS's "Sunday Morning," with Charles Kuralt. He is the recipient of the U.S. Congress Citation Award and the City of New York, Manhattan Borough President Proclamation. He is presently represented at the Kennedy Galleries, New York City, and is currently exhibiting large public works at Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass.

"It is most fitting that the catalyst triggering Vanderbilt's collection of outdoor artwork comes from so near the New York source of the University's original philanthropic support," said Chancellor Wyatt, referring to New Yorker Commodore Cornelius Vanderbilt who gave the bequest to found Vanderbilt University.

Posted 5/05/97 at 10:00 a.m.

For important news and announcements, visit the faculty and staff Web page at http://www.vanderbilt.edu/myVU.

To read the monthly magazine for the Vanderbilt community, the Vanderbilt View, check newsstands on campus, or visit http://www.vanderbilt.edu/vanderbiltview.