By Théodore Leroux, Mégane Voirol, Pal
The University of Saint-Gallen is home to a large art collection, comprising works from superstar artists such as Gerhard Richter, Alberto Giacometti and Joan Miro. Yet, discussions among students seldom revolve around this topic, if not about further promoting “campus legends” on the worth of the pieces. This observation triggered our interest to survey the opinion of students about the artworks surrounding them during their studies. Are they aware of the real worth of the art pieces? Do they perceive this collection as a contribution to their well-being on campus? Are they satisfied with the aesthetic choices? Do the artwork help them broaden their horizons or even get creative?
From our preliminary research, we found that the student body is aware of the high monetary value of the collection. However, virulent critics are questioning the use of university funds for art, especially when the library and lecture rooms are becoming increasingly crowded. Only one student mentioned that the collection is the result of donations by prestigious alumni and corporate partners. Therefore, it appears that the university management could improve its image toward students by communicating more about the funding of art.
We found a similar lack of consensus among students regarding the contribution of the pieces to their well being. On the pessimistic side, some students confessed that they rarely take a look at the artworks, while others simply got used to it. Conversely, some students shared the pride they experience when they take visitors on a tour of the craft on campus. To them, being surrounded by such an impressive collection is contributing to the prestige of the university, and therefore boosts them with self confidence.
Despite the controversies around art on campus, students appear to agree on one aspect: aesthetics. Recurring terms to qualify art on campus are: “cold” and “diverse”. Moreover, students agree that the pieces have little influence on their creativity
While it appears that the artwork is well embedded in the student’s daily routine at the university, it cannot be said that it is appreciated by all. But isn’t this the perks of art?
So what is YOUR perception of art on campus? Are you among the pessimists who walk in front of the works without glance? Do you believe that the campus is a good place for an art collection? And what influence does art have on your perception of the prestige of the university and on your creativity?