UMass Dartmouth Professor Stacy Latt Savage’s latest sculpture unveiled to the public

By Chelsea Cabral, Staff Writer

Despite the rainy weather on September 30, numerous spectators gathered to witness the unveiling of Professor Stacy Latt Savage’s newest piece, known as the 350/50 Sculpture.

Designed by Savage herself, the sculpture is a symbol of the connections between UMass Dartmouth and the Town of Dartmouth itself.

The sculpture was built to celebrate the 350th anniversary of Dartmouth as well as the 50th anniversary of the UMass Dartmouth campus.

This new addition provides a welcome spot for the community to sit, relax, and reflect on the history of the town.

Stacy Latt Savage, a professor of Fine Arts here at UMass Dartmouth, has exhibited her sculptures and artwork in a variety of venues, including museums, university galleries, outdoor public settings, and permanent commissions.

Some of her public work can be found at the Holocaust Memorial at Buttonwood Park in New Bedford and in the Dartmouth Community Park. Her work is part of a collaborative sculpture she created with her students at the university.

Commissioned for a second time to create a piece of public artwork, Savage began construction for the 350/50 Sculpture in 2014.

Working closely with the town of Dartmouth, she sought to create a piece that really recognized the town’s history.

The 350/50 Sculpture salvages pieces from distinct landmarks in the Town of Dartmouth. It includes fragments from the Coaster Comet, a roller coaster from the infamous Lincoln Park along Route 6 that operated in the latter part of the twentieth century, and a 1950s-era satellite dish from MIT that was used for various communication experiments in the community until 2007.

Professor Savage gathered further materials from local farms and landmarks across the community such as sickles, pitchfork ends, and marine equipment, all of which are now embedded within the sculpture.

With plenty of materials, Savage also sought out inspiration. She ended up using the groundwork of the Fibonacci sequence to guide her in the assembling process.

The Fibonacci sequence is a set of numbers in which the next number is a sum of the previous two numbers. When graphed, it produces the “golden spiral,” which can be found in in the most conventional of things such as leaves, handprints, and other kinds of patterns.

Savage decided to construct her sculpture in the shape of the renowned mathematical form because she found beauty in the hidden meaning behind its ordered arrangement and linked its balance and harmony to the relationship between the university and the town.

“E pluribus unum,” Savage said, referencing the Latin phrase for ‘out of many, one.’ She continued, “It’s a whole in perfect proportion to its parts… I thought ‘could you have a better metaphor for a community and a community within a community?’ The math has always been a part of [my design].”

Gerry Kavanaugh, UMass Dartmouth’s Senior Vice Chancellor for Strategic Management, was also in attendance. He indicated that the sculpture is “a great testament to our ability to work together and to get things done… [creating] a long lasting tribute to our relationship with Dartmouth.”

Along with the sculpture, the site also includes a kiosk, like others seen around Dartmouth during its 350th anniversary, and a concrete seating area that brings the original vision of Paul Rudolph’s architectural design back to life.

The two primary materials of the piece, concrete and steel, represent the evolution of our campus over the years. The 350/50 Sculpture is formed in divine proportion, and will be placed on a map silhouette within the Town of Dartmouth.

On the map, Savage explained, “UMass Dartmouth [will be] right in the center.”

One of Dartmouth’s town administrators, David Cressman, mentioned that the creation of the public piece of art “is the culmination of a very successful venture, which one person has already whispered to me and said: ‘I think you got everything you wanted and more.’”

He also added that the sculpture will work to remind the public of the history of Dartmouth and the two anniversaries for decades to come.

The site sits right at the entrance of Ring Road, next to the pond right across from Parking Lot 1. Stop by and check out the wonderful sculpture for yourself!

Photo Courtesy: Chelsea Cabral


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