Bowling Green State University welcomed the installation of a more than 15,000-piece glass mosaic at the Mileti Alumni Center on the BGSU campus.
The art installation was revealed during a ceremony Jan. 27, with alumni, board members and university staff present to take in the new addition to the BGSU and Alumni Association Art Collection.
During the 100th Homecoming celebration, held Sept. 15-18, alumni and other attendees were invited to participate in the community art project by adding colored glass pieces to the special mosaic marking a century of BGSU Homecoming. More than 500 people helped to place the pieces of presorted and nipped glass in a jigsaw puzzle-like fashion.
Artist and alumna Gail Christofferson ‘83, who owns Animal House Glass, worked with the BGSU University Advancement team and the BGSU President’s Office to conceptualize the mosaic and then collaborated with artist Debra Buchanan ’04 to create the illustration. Christofferson worked closely with Sarah Brokamp ‘10, ‘20, who serves as special assistant to Pam Conlin, vice president for University Advancement/president and CEO, BGSU Foundation Inc. Craig Hamilton joined Christofferson to install the four large panels of the mosaic in the Mileti Alumni Center over several days, using a French cleat system to hang and finishing with oak framing.
Animal House Glass was chosen for the project in large part because of its community approach to art. This planning allowed hundreds of BGSU alumni to help create the mosaic during several Homecoming events including the Welcome Back Party on Court Street, Falconland and at the alumni tailgate.
Brokamp said the University Advancement team was seeking a new and creative way to engage alumni during Homecoming and the community mosaic was a great way to make this connection.
“More than 500 alumni helped to put this together at Homecoming events and this is their piece of art as well,” Brokamp said.
In addition to engaging alumni, the project also involved a dozen student volunteers who were able to work and learn in Christofferson’s studio in Tontogany as well as aid alumni and community members in assembling parts of the mosaic during Homecoming.
Conlin said that the designation of 2022 as the International Year of Glass tied in nicely when it came to a decision for the medium to create a statement art piece for the Mileti Alumni Center.
“We wanted to capture the 100th anniversary of Homecoming with specific elements that would resonate with our alumni and the community for a long time,” Conlin said. “The mosaic showcases University Hall, students, the new Alumni Gateway that was dedicated during Homecoming, and even some squirrels that are hidden, adding an opportunity to view the piece more closely.”
“The element I love most is the beautiful falcon soaring over University Hall,” Conlin said.
Alison Frye ‘00, chairman of the Alumni Board of Directors, said the mosaic is a physical representation of the emotions and excitement felt during the 100th Homecoming at BGSU.
“It was a magical weekend. I love knowing that my children had a hand in helping create this and they will be able to see it for years to come. I’m so happy we have this representation so that we will never forget that Homecoming weekend,” Frye said.
The glass BGSU Homecoming mosaic can be viewed at the Mileti Alumni Center, 136 N. Mercer Road.
“Each little piece shows the power of the Falcon family,” Conlin said. “When we come together, we can achieve great things.”