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The Winding Arms of Change

Jack Weldon and Chetan Shukla

As Belmont Hill students returned to campus last fall (2016), a new presence in the academic quad greeted them: the Wind Orchid. Created by artist George Sherwood, the kinetic sculpture was a surprising addition to campus for many students—including us. At first, we were unsure what to think of the statue. Its reflective silver coating did not seem to fit in with the school’s white-maroon aesthetic, and the frantic rotation of the sculpture seemed a little out of place in heavy winds. However, as time went on, we began to adjust to the sculpture’s placement at Belmont Hill. In a slow wind, the undulating arms of the sculpture provide an interesting and nearly hypnotic view, and the art adds decoration to the empty quad. The slow and consistent movements of the structure can be calming and peaceful. The interesting piece of art also adds a stylistic essence to tours as it attracts the eyes of all around it.

The statue is an incredible artistic achievement and performs flawlessly, but we cannot help but feel like one of our earlier concerns still stands: the Wind Orchid seems to stick out, disrupting the campus’ “feng-shui” and not fitting in well with the color scheme of the school. Possibly a rotating sextant, one that still maintained Sherwood’s unique artistic style, would have been a more suitable choice. Sherwood’s work is remarkable, and we mean no disrespect to the obvious artistic talent that went into the creation of the piece, but we often wonder if the quad is the best place for the sculpture to go. The placement of the structure disrupts the open concept of the academic quad. The metallic piece, in addition to causing aggressive solar reflections that distract classrooms and students, conflicts with the brick theme that is presented across the school. Ultimately, while elegant and thought-provoking, we believe the wind-orchid is out-of-place, estranged from the rest of our academic campus.

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