So, what do you think of the arch?

Howard W. Hewitt – Students returned from all around Indiana, the country, and world this week for second semester classes at Wabash College.

Read the comments below and then add your own.

Psychology experiment?

Art Project?

Admissions office?

That’s a sampling of the ideas expressed thus far!

Right in front of the Chapel is a smaller duplicate arch to the one which has stood between Goodrich and Sparks for years!

The dubiously infamous Arch that students dare not pass under had been duplicated! What does it mean? What do you think it says? 

Click the comment button below to add your thoughts. Rumor has it the mystery will be solved soon.

  1. I think it’s an art major’s comp. project or just a big prank. Although, I first saw it on Monday morning on my way to my comprehensive exams and I sure wasn’t walking under it!

  2. This arch looks terrible. I really don’t care what it means because it takes away from the view of the chapel. One of the best things about walking on the mall is looking up and seeing the chapel and now this arch is in the way. Also, I don’t know if it’s fake or not but if it’s real, it was shoddily constructed. In general, it is an eyesore and needs to be taken down.

  3. Jessie McCarley

    I agree that the “eyesore” should be taken down. It’s annoying and blocks the view of the chapel.

  4. I too guessed it was an art major’s comp. It is actually fairly well constructed, to the point where one has to knock on it to discern its hollowness. The arch would pose a number of problems for those who would use the mall, like commencement or chapel sing, if it were anything but temporary. I feel like it is a commentary on how “tradition” can be imposed artificially to restrict our liberty. Or perhaps it is a psychology experiment to see how people will react under pressures from superstition and Wabash societal norms concerning arches.

  5. I haven’t spent much time watching, but has anyone walked under it? It may be interesting to see if a similar arch to the already historic one, might bring about similar feelings along with similar actions. I really don’t want it to stay, but find the idea thought provoking.

  6. Charlie Crowley

    While from a distance it appears to be a brick and mortar based arch it is in truth a plastic blow-up arch. It can be moved from site to site. Two have been ordered: One for the Admissions team to take to college fairs (Picture the admissions team standing beneath the arch at the Wabash table), and the other for the Alumni Center use at various gatherings around the country. The Athletic Department is now clamoring for an arch of their own to serve as a team entrance for sporting events!
    My understanding is the administration’s greatest fear is that using a fragile plastic arch replica as a traveling symbol for the college may invite vandalism efforts from college rivals … our arch-enemies.

  7. I think that it would have looked nice if it had been placed further back on the path between Baxter and Center Hall. In its present location it totally disrupts the feng shui of the mall. I will be interested to see if it actually lights up at night or if it’s just a joke.

  8. It is such a fine replica that I find myself at odds
    …do I go around or walk straight through?

  9. Gary Moore '04

    This is a terrible idea and a real waste of money. The mall and the Chapel are the focal point of the campus. This just detracts from the overall picture. Hopefully it’s a prank and hopefully we won’t have to worry about how the College chooses to spend its money. Good luck to the current students at the start of a new semester.

  10. I wonder if it is something that will be added to graduation ceremonies later in the semester that would involve having graduates walk underneath it. However, I am somewhat dubious. Something like that could just as easily be done with the original arch. Maybe it already is? Having never been to graduation here yet, I don’t know. I guess we’ll find out soon enough.

  11. That’s what I thought! The arch disrupts the “flow” of the mall, and I don’t think I like it. So, why the big mystery, anyway?

  12. I think the admissions office should be really upset, because it can not make their job any easier. I would be okay if some house with pledges still had them remove it.

  13. I too thought that the “new” arch was an eyesore when I first saw it, but then I heard some people talking today about how it is for a Psychology experiment to see how many Wabash men would walk under it versus those that would go around it. If that’s true, which I assumed it to be given it’s construction, then I think it’s a positively fresh and brilliant idea. I have not been avoiding walking under it, but I’ve seen a large number of people going out of their way to do so. As a Psychology minor, I’d certainly be interested in reading the data and conclusions the students come up with.

  14. Nathan Colglazier

    I have heard this from one other and agree with him that it is a potential psych experiment. If so, I hope you’re getting enough for your report.

  15. While I agree that the arch MAY be an eye sore – I also think that it is such a pleasure to see student art on campus. (I guess, if this can be considered art?) Being at such a small place in the middle of nowhere, with very little diversity of thought, I literally got butterflies just thinking that the campus may now become a place of expressing more ideas in “gurilla” style. And to be honest, it is not even that big of an eye sore. Considering how big it is, and the materials used, whoever created it did a great job. Thanks for putting this up!

  16. If it’s a psych experiment, it’s a really nice perspective on how traditions affect habits. If it’s an art major comp, it’s placed in an odd place and does not seem to match its surroundings. I mean…green grass alongside a red brick archway? It may have been better to put it between Baxter and Center Hall…at least the two buildings will compliment the arch.
    If it doesn’t pertain to art or psychology…then what’s it for? This new arch is dimutive to the original arch, and I agree with others: it should be removed from the mall. It’s aesthetically unpleasing.

  17. Austin Rovenstine

    Even now that I know it’s fake, I’m still afraid to walk under it. The very silhouette of that sinister structure strikes fear into heart.
    I’m sure it’s from my brainwashing during freshman orientation–like how I now become uncontrollablly angry when I hear the word “danny.” Interesting psych experiment, if that’s what it is…

  18. I walked under it…two times. I think it’s an extremely cool idea for a sculpture project. Like Collin said, I think that it symbolizes a lot, being comparable to a traditional icon we all respect. It’s location was carefully chosen on a frequently-taken path to create an imposing eyesore. It could certainly be an obstacle for our Commencement or Chapel Sing ceremonies if it were ever a permanent fixture. I think that the sculptors I noticed assembling it Sunday afternoon are deserving of an applause for getting us to think and develop our own interpretation of this particular piece of work…plus, giving us the opportunity to circumvent it or walk right under. I like.

  19. I’m amazed at the amount of people who think this is for real. It seems rather obvious to me that it is not a permanent installation and will doubtlessly be taken down in good time. I walked under it.

  20. I walked under it…two times. I think it’s an extremely cool idea for a sculpture project. Like Collin said, I think that it symbolizes a lot, being comparable to a traditional icon we all respect. It’s location was carefully chosen on a frequently-taken path to create an imposing eyesore. It could certainly be an obstacle for our Commencement or Chapel Sing ceremonies if it were ever a permanent fixture. I think that the sculptors I noticed assembling it Sunday afternoon are deserving of an applause for getting us to think and develop our own interpretation of this particular piece of work…plus, giving us the opportunity to circumvent it or walk right under. I like.

  21. Terrible idea. The arch looks totally out of place. It should have never been built.

  22. All I know is, I’m scared of it. The first time I saw it, I cowardly walked around it out of fear. (I’m still scared of it!) It seems to remind me of Sauron’s eye, just waiting to strike down the unfortunate freshman who dares mock it. I won’t take my chances…

  23. I don’t like it. It seems out of place ,and it does nothing for the mall. It looks bad.

  24. ITS ABSOLUTELY TERRIBLE. I could go on about that, but the part that makes me the most annoyed is that it was poorly done and the arc does not belong there. I really hope wabash did not pay for that…they should get their money back! I’d honstley could have done better with children’s building blocks!

  25. Joel Bustamante

    It’s large, inconvenient, and I’m not sure if I’m allowed to walk under it. This better be a project of some sort, because I haven’t been this confused since I saw women on campus.

  26. As a psych experiment, it’s clever.
    As an art piece, it’s not half as clever as the artist thinks it is.
    As an admissions expenditure, it’s an eyebrow-raiser for the next budget meeting.

  27. All I can say is somebody ought to explain the arch sooner rather than later, because it’s become apparent that it is not very popular. I think it would behoove whoever is responsible to send out an explanation now rather than getting upset when somebody vandalizes or destroys it.

  28. Looking at these previous posts, I have to say that if this is a psych experiment it is going very well. I struck me the first time I saw it when I came back for comps, but after some gossiping I came to realize it is a fake and duplicate. I would suggest that the college build a real duplicate of the arch between Baxter Hall and Center. I think it would mirror the other arch very well, and would be a nice touch to that space.

  29. I believe that it is some sort of project and should be appreciated for the time being because someone took the time and effort into constructing this. Why would Wabash decide to put an arch in the middle of the mall where numerous campus activities happen? This arch, in my opinion, will not be there permanently.

  30. To Kyle Cassidy…
    You say that if it is a psychology experiment, then it is good. But if it is an art project, it is bad …
    My question … Why can’t art be used to promote ideas of psychology? does art always have to be aestheticly pleasing? Or can it be used for different purposes?
    Thats just my idea on it though … who knows.

  31. It’s great to see Wabash “embracing” public art. That embrace may not always be positive, but who said that it should?
    The most successful art poses questions and challenges the viewer. The inescapability of this piece directly confronts viewers and seems to elicit immediate puzzlement.
    I see the new arch as a clever way to question tradition. I find it facscinating that a replica arch can elicit the same level of fear as the actual menacing beast!


  33. David Schoenefeld

    Maybe the College will replace that cartooned Wally Wabash as the college icon with one of the arch and this is just an experiment to see what type of response it gets, or even better bring back the icon with the Chapel on it. Either way just get rid of the cartoon!

  34. Most art is extremely psychological, whether successful or not. In my opinion this piece IS quite successful in not only the realm of psychology, but also in the general sense pertaining to ‘What is Art?’ Can a duplicated architectural sculpture be Art? Is psychology Art?
    I also think this is great for our Art-thirsty campus. Hopefully we will see more stuff like this.

  35. This arch is an excellent start to ruining Ultimate Disc practices on campus. Now is the time to enact the campus-wide ban on discs, circles and plates I’ve been proposing for years. Good work Art/Psych student, your work will stop that hippie rabble once and for all!

  36. To the Anonymous author,
    Yes, I believe psychology is an Art, and Art is in turn an expression of human psychological needs and wants, etc. But what I can not understand is why you do not stand for your opinions? Is there an art to anonymity?
    Personally, I still can not decide if I should walk under or around the arch, so I avoid it entirely.

  37. It can’t hold to the same as the other arch. That one has history and what about Graduation? I havent seen it in person but it looks like it would be in the way of the program. I and I guess it cuts some of the field off for any activity on the mall like football or something. Glad I didn’t have to deal with it

  38. The new arch is ugly and is causing the death of the grass around it.

  39. Hey everyone. I’m an alum from ’03 and haven’t actually seen this new campus addition other than the photo provided above. I can only imagine how much interest and attention it is getting on campus. If this is an experiment or art project, I’d say it is a good one. I happen to be a clinical psychologist and can’t help but think about what this says about traditions and how they are formed. Remember, all traditions start somewhere. And though students and alumni are joined by a sense of common understanding and membership to the college, the Wabash that I attended, the Wabash you attend now, and the Wabash your sons will attend someday will likely be different in many ways. Just food for thought. WAF.

  40. This whole discussion about walking under the replica arch is ridiculous! No one cares if you walk under this one. Maybe it was created so that we could feel what it’s like to walk under the arch without actually walking under the arch. That’s just a thought.
    I am somewhat offended by the comment about Ultimate Frisbee though. Why put down others because they love the sport and everything that comes with it? This wouldn’t stop the team from playing at all because the sport can be played anywhere.

  41. Clearly we have an arch rival on campus.

  42. Charlie Crowley

    I posted back on the 9th and am surprised to see so many comments on my return to the site. The comments on art projects and respect for traditions reminds me of an art project in the late 60’s. One of my young fraternity brothers, a skillful artist, decorated the Milligan Clock in beautiful pastel … sidewalk chalk. It was the sixties, what can I say. Dean Moore suggested that was perhaps not the best choice for demonstrating one’s artistic skills. The (very) short lived project did no permanent damage. An interesting question did arise out of the art project: If you do a chalk masterpiece on the sidewalk, the first bit of rain will wash it away. Why then does it take so much time and effort to scrub a drawing off the Milligan Clock? Yet another of life’s little conundrums.

  43. Dear Anonymous,
    I think you typed the wrong name there, because you don’t appear to be talking about anything I said.
    Also, I cannot believe that so many people care enough to render Serious Opinions on this thing. This non-event barely rates me and Elliot and Rickard making fun of it.


  45. Jon, if you are going to respond to Tom Elliott in a campus forum, then you really should learn an important lesson. Namely, take nothing of any consequence Tom says and everything of no consequence that he doesn’t say with absolute seriousness.
    George, that was the worst joke I’ve heard in a long time. Congratulations! 😉
    P.S. The whole ordeal seems quite intriguing, and I wish I could be on campus to see the ‘offending’ object. Psych/art/whatever experiment, it’s been interesting to read your reactions.

  46. What a novel idea! This arch definitely raises question of why we follow certain traditions, and to what extent should we take them seriously. It may even be provoking us to either think critically or make asses of ourselves. Either way, it is wonderfully provocative.

  47. I hate it. Every time I have been on this campus, whether it be visiting before I went here, or as a student, I have always seen the Chapel as the focal point of the Mall, but now that arch ruins the view. I vote get rid of it.

  48. The arch looks pretty bad just standing randomly in the open. As to whether or not we should walk under it, there is no doubt that we should. If you avoid it you are stripping the other arch of it’s tradition and history. However, we could be avoiding the true arch for a reason just as arbitrary. No one really knows how that even started.

  49. Tear it down. This is an awful precedent to start. I am tired of it being in my way and disgracing whatuse to be a beautiful campus.

  50. I’m actually kinda disappointed that no zombies or evil corpses came out after those holes were kicked in. I thought for sure that since it sounded hollow that there must be the zombified bodies of people that walked under it inside.

  51. Arguing that the Chapel’s beautiful appearance is hindered by this sculpture is failing to appreciate the skill that it took to make this. Knowing one of the artists, and his skill in ceramics, I have no doubt as to how long this piece may have taken, for the first time I walked under it I was taken back and confused, because I thought it was real. Only late did I find out that it was an art project. I think its cool, and worth appreciating for the time it took at the very least.

  52. Well, it’s not the Arch, but it certainly is an interesting model. But I never walk around it. I walk around the Arch out of fear and respect, because it is old, intimidating, and well-constructed. This new arch is neither old nor fearful, and it’s ceramic. So I walk under it, intentionally, every time.

  53. To the person who responded to me, but chose to remain anonymous. I don’t fail to see this “arch” for it’s artistic quality. I was an award winning ceramics artist in high school, so I know how and what it takes to make something like this. But I don’t really care what this arch is. I still think it ruins the view of the Chapel. I still don’t like it.

  54. I agree that it does take away from the chapel, and that the chapel should continue to be the focal point of the mall. But i feel even stronger towards the holes that have been kicked into the piece of art. To whoever kicked it in, you were certainly acting in an ungentlemanly way. It is a disgrace to the values of our great college when you act in such a manor.

  55. Nick- I find this arch to be a step in the right direction for your campus. I am simply an outsider with little knowledge on art and no knowledge on the Wabash campus or traditions, but the arch seems to touch the very core of what public art is supposed to accomplish. To that affect, keep testing boundaries, challenging art, and questioning psychology.

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