The Voice: Spring 2003
Art commissions for Campus Center are now complete
By: Sally Jongsma
The final piece of commissioned artwork for the new Campus Center was hung
over semester break. It is a large stained glass work titled LIJA and
created by Lauren Ochsner and his wife, Barb. The large piece, with eight-foot
high panels and a diameter of six feet, hangs in the west entry
to the Campus Center complex, at the northwest corner of the library. The
piece features six panels, three of which are dominated by vibrant torches. The
torches symbolize several things, says Ochsner: the Trinity, knowledge, and especially the passing
of the torch of faith from one generation to the next. The letters
L-I-J-A are the first letters of Laurens and Barbs parents nameswho passed the
torch of faith on to them. The torch will, Lord willing, they hope,
continue to be passed on in this placealso to their childrenfour of whom
are also alums or students of Dordt College.
Hanging above the three-story lounge on the east side of the building is
a mobile created by David Versluis, the newest member of the art faculty.
Versluiss piece titled Fruitfulness features bright yellow circles that fill and warm the
space. Versluis says the playful yellow shapes and metallic branches symbolize a tree
and its fruit. Its large scale fills the space, space that changes as
sections of the mobile catch the buildings air currents and move, sometimes touching,
then reacting and interacting with each other. For Versluis the piece becomes a
metaphor for the Christian life and the Christian college community working and living
The final piece is a wall sculpture by Jeff Freeman, an art professor
at the University of South Dakota and someone who had a formative role
in the education of Dordt College Art Professor Susan Van Geest. The sculpture
is titled The Colossian Force Reigns. Freeman says he once heard a scientist
refer to the Colossian force as that which holds the universe together. His
title comes from Colossians 1: 16 - 18, which talk about Christ as
head of all and in whom all things hold together.
All three works were commissioned by the college art committee, a permanent committee
responsible for purchasing art for the campus. As Freeman said after installing his
commissioned piece, The art is really humanizing this building.
But art isnt hung simply to humanize the space. It illustrates how using
the variety of gifts God has given his people contributes to a richer,
fuller life. That is why as an institution that gives testimony to the
lordship of Christ over all of life, Dordt College commits time and resources
to art. Doing art is one way to cultivate Gods creation. Displaying art
is one way to encourage appreciation for its place in our lives and
our culture. It also encourages young Christian artists to consider a career in
While the budget isnt large, over the years the college has steadily accumulated
a variety of works that are displayed around campus. Purchases are made from
three groups of artists: Dordt College faculty, students, and alumni; Christian artists from
around the world; and local artists. Such guidelines not only help the committee
know where to begin looking for art to purchase, but also allow the
college to support artists who share something with us. And student artists benefit.
Each spring the college purchases some of the best student work of graduating
seniors to include in its permanent collection.
Freeman is not the first visitor to comment about the impact of the art on campus.