UCSB’s “Take the Stairs” Campaign Mixes Art, Sustainability and Wellness

Posted on Jun 20 by SEASONS Magazine

Vertical Garden in UCSB stairway. Photo courtesy of UCSB Department of Art.

Usually stairs are overlooked and seen as a way to get from point-A to point-B, but these undergraduates decided to give the stairways on campus a more meaningful existence. Art professor Jane Mulfinger says, “I love the stairwells on this campus; there are some that are hidden and there are some people hardly ever see that are just gorgeous.” Her sculpture students are the ones who took up this challenge of decorating the spaces. 

The name “Take the Stairs” came from the hope that students, faculty, and staff would use the stairs instead of the nearby elevators to get some exercise and save energy that is otherwise powering elevators. 

One the stairwells, adorned by student artist Xin Wen, depicts a voicemail of a Chinese poem from the Tang Dynasty. Another student Mia Ramos, used the concrete and metal space to create a vertical garden. A third stairway uses reflective materials to capture the light as the day passes, and a fourth incorporates media to replicate the experience of ascending or descending through a Santa Barbara sunset. 

Use of reflective material in UCSB stairwell for “Take the Stairs” campaign. Photo courtesy of UCSB Department of Art.

These exhibits continue to be on display. UCSB Director of Campus Sustainability Mo Lovegreen supported funding for the art installations and spearheaded the campaign. To view more images from the installation, visit the UCSB Department of Art website here. 

Emma Sheridan

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