The sculpture is officially titled “Funambulist,” which means “tightrope walker.” According to sculptor John Van Alstine, it represents the thin line we must walk from one point to another in life, specifically toward graduation.
The piece was actually commissioned back in 1999, when the Snyder-Phillips renovation was planned. A group called the Public Art on Campus Committee played a part in the sculpture’s placement, as it was specifically designed for that courtyard.
Despite the courtyard being its intended location from its inception, many students (myself included) have found the piece to be misplaced among the old-fashioned brick buildings. Since its installation last June, there have been a handful of notable vandalism incidents (myself not included), including one that simply featured the word “art” in cursive.
No matter what your opinion is on the Funambulist, it appears it is here to stay. Supposedly, there are plans to improve the landscaping around the sculpture, which will hopefully integrate it better into the area. My fingers are certainly crossed.