Dear Rowan… the centennial art installation coming soon to Meditation Walk

Meditation Walk's entrance closest to the Rowan Boulevard traffic circle. - Photo via Rowan

Due to the 2023- 2024 school year marking 100 years since Rowan University started operation as Glassboro Normal School, the university administration continues to unveil new projects created to honor the centennial anniversary. 

The Dear Rowan is one of these projects. 

The art department teamed up with Rowan’s radio, television, and film major in the spring of last year to begin working on the multisensory project that will span multiple areas of campus in honor of 100 years of Rowan. 

Mina Zarfsaz is an assistant professor in the art department. She has been the main member of the faculty in charge of coordinating the project. 

“It would highlight the key strength of the institution, by looking to the past and creating a kind of forward-motion vision for a future. So again, it was less about just the past. It was more about turning to the present and also thinking about the future in a multitude of ways,” said Zarfsaz. 

The project is slated to be a multi-part audiovisual art piece that expands across campus, specifically centered around the Meditation Walk. 

A major part of the project is a guided meditation that starts at the library. Using augmented reality through an app spread around the walkway, the viewer is encouraged to tune into nature through ten stations across the Walk, ending at the Engineering Pond. 

The piece will include audio in the form of a voice speaking to the viewer, written pieces to get the viewer to introspect and think about the environment around them, animation, and visual art. 

The piece deals heavily with space and how people interact with the spaces around them. Aedan Rosalia was one of the students involved in creating the project. 

“I just got so involved and intrigued by everything, that I just kept working… And then pretty shortly after the fall semester came around and that’s when things sort of started to formulate in terms of the project’s clear message,” said Rosalia. 

Zarfsaz designed a course for the spring of last year to aid in the creation of this project, giving students the opportunity and ability to experiment with various different ideas for the Dear Rowan project. 

The class used the archives in the library to find inspiration and draw from them to make an impact on the campus, with some of the artifacts that the class engaged with including the institution’s former master plans. 

“It’s just funny, it’s coming up right now because we’re about to engage with another master plan for the university. But these are the master plans we’re looking at from the 60s, the 70s actually was one. The latest one was like in 2004 or 2005,” said Zarfsaz. 

These master plan concept maps helped the class to form the idea for the pieces centered around the Meditation Walk, by thinking of the campus being mapped out and used as a canvas. 

Dear Rowan is mostly finished, but because it is a public art piece, the creators and the university are waiting for more consistently warm and dry weather to officially launch the project for viewing.

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