Two Art and Design professors and art students at Indiana University of Pennsylvania will be staging a public art installation project on May 2 from 2:00 to 3:00 p.m. on Oakland Avenue, across from the IUP Oak Grove.

“Traffic Island Oasis” is a participatory art installation by the Indiana-based artist collective Sculpture Support System.

The artists will temporarily transform the traffic island on Oakland Avenue (across from the IUP Oak Grove) into an island oasis. The public is invited to tour the island on May 2 from 2:00 to 3:00 p.m. to experience an island getaway without leaving Indiana.

The “island” will feature objects made by students in Sharon Massey's 3D Design course. Creations by about 25 students will be part of the project.

Each object was designed and created by individual students using post-consumer cardboard. Examples of objects planned for the island include a sea turtle, a treasure chest, a shark, and some unexpected surprises.

Sculpture Support System is a collaborative endeavor of artists Sharon Massey and Sean Derry and their students and is inspired by a desire to democratize art and artistic processes.

This project was conceived in response to the coronavirus pandemic, and the desire to create a lighthearted escape from the travel restrictions and other distancing requirements of the past year, Massey and Derry said.

Massey and Derry formed Sculpture Support System in 2019 with the intent to support the artistic development of emerging artists and create collaborative public projects that engage community members in a range of art making processes. They intend for their collaborative work to empower project participants and fellow collaborators to reimagine the role of art in society.

In November 2020, Massey and Derry organized a project with their students to raise $1,555 for IUP's Student Assistance Fund, helping students who are facing financial hardships due to the pandemic. The project, “Common Goods,” was a pop-up store in the downtown, selling laser-cut paper packages of items designed by students in Massey and Derry's 3D design classes.

More information is available on the Sculpture Support System website.