Shining a Light on Urban Divides

Artistic inspiration strikes in the most unlikely of places.

Last fall, Dante Migone-Ojeda, a printmaking major in the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts, attended a city council meeting in University City. A man stood up to complain about potholes.

“He was talking about property taxes and how Olive [Boulevard] is a dividing line,” recalls Migone-Ojeda, a Rodriguez Scholar who also is earning a degree in physics from the College of Arts & Sciences. “His mother is an older woman, and every time he takes her to the hospital, they have to drive over all these potholes. And it clicked that this was the perfect place for me to put my piece.”

Titled “Mending Wall,” that piece is currently on view as part of the 2016 University City Public Art Series. Working with the local Arts & Letters Commission, Migone-Ojeda and three classmates conceived, designed, proposed and ultimately won funding to build temporary artworks in public areas throughout the municipality. Migone-Ojeda’s contribution — located at the intersection of Olive and Kingsland, about a half-mile north of the Delmar Loop — is a slim, solar-powered light box encased in the quintessential St. Louis building materials: bricks.

“This is a great location, a highly traversed area,” Migone-Ojeda says. “I wanted the piece to feel like part of the community, rather than something that’s just been plopped down from outside.” At the same time, “I was hoping to get people to really think about what it means to build a wall.

“What does it mean to create these dividing lines?”

 

by Liam Otten


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