Frieze framed
The frieze high in the Weatherspoon's atrium

The frieze high in the Weatherspoon's atrium

The frieze high in the Weatherspoon's atrium has delighted visitors since 1991. In April, its creator, Tom Otterness, gave a public talk/conversation with Weatherspoon Director Nancy Doll. We asked her about the frieze and some things she learned that evening:

What happened when he first toured the Weatherspoon in the early '90s? He saw that spot (in the Atrium) and said, “That's it. That's where I want to put it.” And it's hard for me to imagine the space without it.

He created two other very similar friezes? One is in Palm Beach, Florida, the other in the Los Angeles Federal Plaza. Some sections that are included in WAM's frieze (phallic symbol, king kissing elephant, king in shackles, etc) had been negotiated out of the LA version during the design phase.

What happened to those “controversial” sections from Los Angeles? Some of those then came to us to sell in our gift shop. Unfortunately, they sold out before I arrived here!

The other friezes were named “The Battle of Sexes” and “The New World.” What's ours called? It's just called “The Frieze.” I don't know why he didn't give it a separate title. Ours is certainly the battle of the sexes, with the women going in one direction, the men in the other. And it does go from birth to death. … It's kind of a history of the world, encapsulated.

That's an unusual space for an installation. Did he have any challenges installing it? Because it was an oval, and the pieces had originally been made flat, they had to add on the backs of them and fudge a little bit, then replaster the seams, so it would appear continuous. Fortunately, it wasn't too tight an arc he had to create.

Doll told him that night, “You may have to leave us with a title.” So did he? “No, he did not…I am going to have to bug him about that.”


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Sheryl Oring
Sheryl Oring
Collective memory

Ten typists dressed in black sat at manual typewriters in Manhattan's Bryant Park on Sept. 9, 10 and 11 and invited the public to answer a question: “What would you like the world to remember about 9/11?”

Some park visitors replied on the spur of the moment. Some had heard about the project, the brainchild of assistant professor of art Sheryl Oring, and arrived with an answer ready. Some wept while they spoke.

The typists recorded more than 300 answers verbatim on small sheets of white paper. Another 200 people typed or wrote responses themselves during hours the typists weren't available. Photos of the responses are available on flickr (type collective_memory in the search box).

“It had a real impact on people visiting the park, even people who didn't participate,” Oring said. “It turned out to be a really contemplative way to memorialize 9/11.”

The project, “Collective Memory,” will include an exhibition that will visit college campuses, including UNCG, where it is part of the Department of Art Faculty Biennial at the Weatherspoon Art Museum through Dec. 18.

Oring has used manual typewriters in her interactive projects before. There's just something about the antique machines and attentive listening that encourages people to share their thoughts, she says.

Inspiration for the project came, in part, from an experience she had as a student in junior high school. She was intensely curious about the Vietnam War, but her teacher stopped his American history lessons with World War II. When she asked about Vietnam, her teacher told her that he had lost a friend in the war and couldn't teach it.

“It's time to start thinking about how we'll teach 9/11,” she says. “How do you deal with recent, traumatic history? How do you teach about this sort of complex event in a way that will be good for future generations?”

For more information about Oring's work, visit her web site

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Chariots on the move

These chariots have more groove than the campus buses.

The UNCG Chariots, UNCG's first co-ed a capella group, rolled onto the scene last spring. The group is the inspiration of senior Valerie Davidson, the founder and musical director, who was moved to start a new, voices-only group, but didn't want to create something in direct competition with the established Spartones and Sapphires.

She wasn't worried that there would not be enough interest — or talent — to go around.

“I feel like a capella music reaches more people. It's more accessible to people. It's more fun. You have a lot of freedom to do the music you like,” she says, describing the appeal. “I really love how creative it is. We arrange all of our own songs. Finding cool harmonies to use or syllables that sound like instruments, it's just a really creative process.”

She found the five members necessary to form an officially recognized campus group and through a mix of Facebook posting, flyers and word of mouth, got the word out about auditions. Close to two dozen people showed, and once final selections had been made, the group had about 15 members. They started making their musical mark on campus, guest appearing with the Spartones at the group's spring concert and making a few guerrilla a cappella appearances — pop up concerts — all over campus. Part of their catalog is their signature song, “Chariot” by Gavin DeGraw.

The UNCG Chariots are planning their first concert this fall and working on cultivating a following on campus and in the community. Last summer, they were invited to sing during a Thomasville Hi-Tom's minor league baseball game. In the meanwhile, they continue to hone their craft, dreaming of the perfect mix of harmonies.

Find the UNCG Chariots on Facebook:

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New name, continuing tradition

You may remember it as the University Concert and Lecture Series, but this year it has a new name: the UNCG Performing Arts Series.

Directed by the School of Music, Theatre and Dance, it continues the tradition begun in 1917 as a “lecture concert course“ by bringing in top-notch performances.

Earlier events in the season included Grammy Award winners Doc Watson & David Holt, Chinese Opera of Shanghai and the jazz group Bill Charlap Trio.

Upcoming events include:

North Carolina Symphony, Lindberg Chorale, Berg Concerto for Violin and Orchestra, Mahler Symphony No. 4 in G Major, Dec. 1

American Shakespeare Center, “A Midsummer Night's Dream,” Jan. 23

EVIDENCE, A Dance Company, “On Earth Together,” April 12

All performances will begin at 8 p.m. and will be in Aycock Auditorium.

To purchase tickets to any of these events, visit or call (336) 334-4849. For more information, visit

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An O. Henry beginning

“O. Henry” has come home.

Greensboro's new arts magazine, named for her favorite literary son, is available at no cost on news racks across the city. And Ashley Wahl '09, the magazine's associate editor, is proud to be part of it.

“I'm just thrilled, given the time and the current economy, that people have been so eager and so accepting,” Ashley says. “People really believe in the magazine and that it will do well. We believe so too.”

The bi-monthly magazine, the brainchild of writer Jim Dodson, launched in August. Devoted to the local literary scene and local artists, “O. Henry” is published by The Pilot newspaper. Another alumna, Kathryn Holmes Galloway '06, is the associate art director.

“It's very much a literary magazine,” says Ashley, a communication studies major who minored in English. “A reader's magazine.”

The inaugural issue featured a poem by Sarah Lindsay '84 MFA as well as a feature on Yum-Yum's hot dogs.

Read “O. Henry” online at or look for it at various locations, including EarthFare, Harris Teeter, Lucky32 and Print Works Bistro.

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Alumni Authors book image
Alumni authors

  • “God Bless America,” a short story collection by Steve Almond '97 MFA
  • “The Brick Murder,” a short story collection by Kurt Jose Ayau '96 PhD
  • “Magpies,” a short story collection by Lynne Barrett '74 MFA
  • “The Wilmington & Raleigh Rail Road Company, 1833-1854,” by James Burke '04, '08 PhD
  • “Thunder Moon,” a mystery novel by Richard Helms '80
  • “When the Dust Finally Settles,” a novel by Kat Meads '77 MFA
  • “Lions of the West,” a biography of 10 Americans (including Thomas Jefferson, David Crockett, John “Johnny Appleseed” Chapman, among others) who helped push the US west, by Robert Morgan '68 MFA
  • “Terroir,” a collection of poetry by Robert Morgan '68 MFA
  • “Something Knows the Moment,” a poetry collection by Scott Owens '94 MFA
  • “Catch a Falling Star: The Stories Test Scores Don't Tell,” by Phyllis Stump '69
  • “How Can You NOT Laugh at a Time Like This?: Reclaim Your Health with Humor, Creativity, and Grit,” by Carla Ulbrich '90
  • “Doppleganged,” a poetry collection by Fritz Ward '01 MFA
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