To fulfill a commission for art at Family Trust Federal Credit Union’s new headquarters in Rock Hill, Winthrop University students tried something old, new, borrowed, and even blue.
To understand what Family Trust officials wanted, students Chelsea Arthur, Nicole Davenport, Samantha Oliver, Christopher Smalls and Kaityln Walters had to learn about the history of the credit union and Rock Hill, especially its ties to the railroad and textile industries.
They also had to study Family Trust’s core values of excellence, ethics, integrity, participation, “fanatic” discipline and investing in the success of the others. The students then translated those values into art.
Smalls used 3-D printing to develop his art, committing his vision to a full-size paper rendition only after it was endorsed by Family Trust. Officials from the credit union evaluated his project and conception through a computer model. His series of stainless steel plates will be displayed outside the third-floor board room.
Smalls even incorporated shades of blue into his sculpture that compliments the credit union’s color. Smalls, a senior from Beaufort, said he likes different shades of blue, echoing the theme of transition. “I wanted it to be blue but I didn’t want it to look logo-like,” he said.
Arthur, a senior from Greenville, used found and borrowed materials such as phone books, used paperback books, tea cups and barn wood to create her seven circles project that will hang in the front lobby and along the staircase to the second floor.
“I love learning new processes, expanding skills. This commissioned (art) pulled all that together,” she said.
Oliver, a graduate student from Rock Hill who received her undergraduate degree from Winthrop in December, originally envisioned her project as flat panels.
“Something was missing,” she said.
Oliver revamped the project, creating three-dimensional porcelain pieces – which resemble folded fabric – that combine to create a map of York County. Each piece has its own character with folds and crevices and its own color as the firing and glazing process created unique colors.
The map of York County has 60 pieces. “I fell in love with every piece,” she said.
Oliver’s piece will be displayed at the credit union’s community room.
Kaithyln Walter of Greenville turned to railroad ties to create art that will be displayed on the first floor and the board room.
Nichole Davenport of Anderson created a large stainless steel work that will be installed over a window in the credit union’s canteen. Sunshine will create shadows of her design on the floor of the canteen.
The works in progress were displayed Friday at the sculpture gallery at Winthrop’s Rutledge Building.
Once completed, the art work will go into storage. Family Trust’s new headquarters on White Street is not expected to be completed for 10 to 12 months. The former branch office on White Street is scheduled for demolition in the next few weeks.