East Campus residents gather to celebrate unveiling of gateway sculpture

Sunday, March 16, 2014 | 6:28 p.m. CDT; updated 2:05 a.m. CDT, Monday, March 17, 2014
The first of four gateway sculptures in the East Campus neighborhood was unveiled Sunday afternoon. The top of the sculpture uses a "C" bisected by a writing quill to make both a "C" and an "E", representing the neighborhood's initials. The quill references the neighborhood's long lasting ties to MU. East Campus has traditionally been a neighborhood for MU faculty and, more recently, students.

COLUMBIA — Residents of East Campus  popped open champagne Sunday afternoon to celebrate the unveiling of the first of four neighborhood gateway sculptures.

The sculpture is an eight foot-tall metal pillar, with "East Campus" written down each side and features a writing quill bisecting a letter C to make it both an "E" and a "C."

The artist who created the sculpture, Don Asbee, said the quill on top of the sculpture is meant to show the neighborhood's connection to MU and knowledge. The sculpture is located at the corner of Cliff Drive and South Ann Street.

Asbee said he wanted it to have a classical look, which involved "blacksmithing" to create.

"I wanted it to look like something that had been here a while," he said.

Asbee also said there are three more identical sculptures that will hopefully be up by the end of the week — two mirrored sculptures at the eastern corners of the University and College Avenue intersection and one at the corner of William Street and Bouchelle Avenue.

East Campus Neighborhood Association member Betty Wilson thought the gateway was important to the neighborhood because it showed an appreciation of the arts and reminds people that East Campus is historically a neighborhood of university faculty. Wilson said the project was funded through the neighborhood association's treasury and its dues.

Although East Campus is historically a faculty neighborhood, many students currently live there, too.

"We like living in a mixed neighborhood," resident David Mehr said. "It keeps things interesting."

Although he is not always a fan of late night fireworks and lawns littered with beer bottles, Mehr has made friends with many of the students that live nearby him.

Rachel Brekhus, secretary of the neighborhood association, said she would even like to see some of the student residents be a part of the association.

Neighborhood association chair Janet Hammen also thinks the project would serve as an example to other neighborhoods, as many other gateway projects have started to spring up for Stephens College and downtown.

With its proximity to MU's campus, the neighborhood is heavily populated by students and faculty and their families. East Campus resident Ann Mehr thinks the sculptures encapsulate the feel of the neighborhood.

"I think there is a good sense of the neighborhood identity through these sculptures that will carry on for the next generation," Mehr said.

Supervising editor is Zachary Matson.

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