The opportunity to engage with the people of the Arkansas River Valley drew Andrew Malczewski to apply for and ultimately become the Windgate Foundation artist in residence at Arkansas Tech University for spring 2022.
“When I was reading over the call for applicants, it stated there would be a communal aspect of the position,” said Malczewski. “There’s something very rewarding in working with people and sharing the joy of making…the joy of being an artist. Any opportunity that I see where they want you to do that, I’m on board 110 percent.”
A native of Chicago, Ill., Malczewski holds a Bachelor of Fine Art degree from Northern Illinois University and a master’s degree from Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi. He lives in San Antonio, Texas, where he co-hosts the podcast “Artsplanations” with his fiancée, contracts as a fabricator and accepts private commissions for drawings, paintings, sculptures and ceramics.
During his residency at Arkansas Tech, Malczewski will utilize bronze and steel to create an outdoor sculpture entitled “Murmuration.” The piece was inspired by the ATU vision statement: where students succeed, innovation thrives and communities flourish.
“I thought about how I could visually represent those concepts in a striking and dynamic way and was inspired by the murmuration of starlings,” said Malczewski. “A starling is a common black bird found almost everywhere in North America. But collectively when they flock together, a murmuration forms and they become something amazing; a breath-stealing, swooping, pulsating, harmonized whole that appears to defy nature while defining it. I loved the way the imagery of the murmuration matched the concepts of the vision statement. I see the murmuration as a community that is thriving and succeeding at something that looks impossible…much like the university community, their students, faculty and staff.”
In addition to making the sculpture, Malczewski will teach a three-dimensional design course in the ATU Department of Art and interact with community entities such as Rotary Club and Sequoyah Elementary School.
He hopes to raise awareness of public art and its importance in our daily lives.
“They are iconic location markers…they are memorials to people and events,” said Malczewski when asked about the public art we see every day. “They are really signifiers of a community. If I can bring that awareness to other people, I feel like I’ve done something to help the community understand the importance of art and help us gather around those objects.”
Malczewski is the fourth artist in residence in Arkansas Tech history. He was preceded by Manami Ishimura (spring 2019), Tiffany Black (spring 2020) and Jade Hoyer (fall 2021).
The program is made possible through a grant from the Windgate Foundation. Additional financial support from the Windgate Foundation over the past four years has allowed Arkansas Tech to establish a summer professional development program for K-12 art teachers, develop enhanced opportunities for ATU graduates to attend medical school, purchase equipment for Arkansas Tech nursing students and establish a need-based scholarship fund.
Learn more about the ATU Department of Art at www.atu.edu/art.