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June 6, 2013

Student sculptors featured at Cedarhurst

MT. VERNON — — St. Louis artist Seth Czaplewski hopes his new outdoor sculpture will shed light on the growing problem of urban sprawl.

The clay-and-brick piece, called “Bamboozlabuildin,” is being featured on the grounds of the Cedarhurst Center for the Arts. Czaplewski, 25, is a graduate student at Washington University and created the sculpture this week.

“I'm interested in how our building systems are starting to take over our natural space,” Czaplewski said. “Down the line, we're going to have to be more careful with those decisions.”

Czaplewski is one of three student artists selected by Cedarhurst's Sculpture Committee to have their work displayed at the Kuenz Sculpture Park. The other artists are Samantha Persons, a graduate student at University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign; and Kirby Eckerty, an undergraduate at Eastern University.

This program was the brainchild of Jack Goldman, past chair of the Sculpture Committee, who wanted to give young artists in the region a venue to show their work, said Rusty Freeman, Cedarhurst's director of visual arts.

“It's a way to recognize the talent in the region,” Freeman said. “It's exciting to see it taking off.”

Work began on the program about two years ago as the Sculpture Committee had to recruit universities and select the best artists out of those who applied.

The three students chosen will have their work displayed at Cedarhurst for one year. The goal is to feature more artists in the future, Freeman said.

Czaplewski's sculpture is about 5 feet 6 inches tall and 5 feet long. The clay forms represent the natural environment while the bricks are considered “unnatural” or “man-made.” The intent is to show the “struggle between man-made constructions and the natural world,” Czaplewski wrote in his sculpture proposal.

Inspiration for the piece came from observing the urban sprawl problem in St. Louis, Czaplewski said.

After graduate school, Czaplewski hopes to teach art at the college level.

“This is amazing to be in a place surrounded by other art,” Czaplewski said of being featured at Cedarhurst. “I want to thank Cedarhurst for such a great opportunity for students.”

For more information on the Emergence: New Student Work program, contact Freeman at 242-1236, ext. 231.

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