Penn State’s planned ‘All In’ commemorative piece project, which was originally scheduled to be completed in spring 2018, has been canceled, according to multiple individuals involved in the project review. It’s likely there will never be any sort of ‘All In’ commemorative piece installed on campus, much less at the project site on the east side of Old Main.
The design a committee selected over the summer from a pool of submissions and announced during the first week of the fall semester will not be renewed. Designed by architecture professor Juan Ruescas, the planned structure resembled a forest made of steel tree elements with rusted bark on the outside.
When the university asked for proposals, the sculpture was intended to incorporate “inspirational quotes or text” and could use electricity but not water features.
The selected design was described to “evoke a forest with tree elements of different heights and sizes inviting the visitor into a clearing” according to a press release from Penn State. It was condemned from the beginning by some for its abstract nature, which didn’t reflect well on the already-criticized ‘All In’ initiative.
Students were involved on multiple committees for the project, but less so over the summer when the actual design was chosen.
Update, 4:08 p.m.: Penn State Spokeswoman Lisa Powers that the university and student leaders are “reconsidering” the commemorative piece and the next steps in the process.
“As the effort has progressed, many new opportunities have been introduced, from expanded diversity recruitment initiatives to national conferences and continued awareness efforts,” Powers said in an email to Onward State. “Over time, it has become clear that many student leaders would like to reconsider the commemorative portion. Other students are supportive.”
“President Barron will be in touch with the campus art committee, the artist, Juan Ruescas, who has done a masterful job in his conceptualization of the project, and student leaders in considering next steps,” she added. “The campus will let stakeholders know how the university is proceeding on this effort at the right time.”