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Impact Magazine

Dean's Message

Dean James Porter

Can artwork in a building (edifice) edify those who enter it? Research suggests that artwork promotes social interactions, elicits emotional responses, facilitates personal connection-making, enhances the workplace environment, and fosters learning. Since the Life Sciences Building was completed in June of 2014, we have used different forms of artwork to set a tone that we hoped would help our students, faculty, and staff look forward to coming into the building for classes or work. Initially, we purchased paintings that added to the sense that we had a building dedicated to studying life. These paintings were of birds, fishes, an elephant, a giraffe, a grove of aspen trees, and an octopus. We also filled the building hallways with live plants (another form of art). We borrowed surplus taxidermy mounts from the Monte L. Bean Museum and displayed them on the “shelves” on either side of the wide-open atrium near the main stairway. We believe these were all important additions to the building and have successfully provided an atmosphere conducive to learning and work.

Two years ago, we began to wonder if new artwork would convey an additional important feeling to the building. Could we use paintings to impart a sense of being in a temple of learning? Could Christ-centered paintings bring an atmosphere into the building that supported our desire to have all who enter it edified (made stronger, like a building) and touched by the Spirit? Since then, we have gradually added new artwork to the walls. Each is Christ-centered and conveys a different important message about His mission and love for us. You can read about these later in this issue of Impact . It is our prayer that all who come through our building will feel a calming effect as they see and contemplate the artwork. We hope their testimonies of the Savior will be strengthened and that their love of all life, including their own, will be solidified. In short, we hope they will be edified.