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Art in Miniature Golf

March 17, 2017

Miniature Golf Hole

There’s always something different on display in Peeler Art Center. This month, it’s something really different: a miniature golf course.

Designed by Associate Professor of Art and Art History Lori A. Miles’ intermediate and advanced sculpture students, the Peeler Putt-Putt stretches from outside the front door, through the lobby into the building's hallways. The holes – no par, all fun – include a giant cell phone clogged with apps (pictured above, by Lihong Xiong '18) and a sprawling Rube Goldberg contraption inspired by a classic board game.

"We had Mouse Trap in the class for some reason, so I set it up and started to look at how it worked," says studio art major Rhiley McIntire '17. "My hole design was inspired by it. I built it up piece by piece – kind of like a puzzle." It ended up being good practice; next year, McIntire will be creating models as a graduate student in Ball State University's architecture program.

Miles says the focus of her art courses is "social practice" art, or art that responds to the needs of a community. In the past, she themed classes by the material used – wood or metal sculpture, for example – but she changed her approach to better serve both studio art majors and the non-art majors who typically make up the majority of her students.

"I felt like our students would be ill-equipped without this kind of experience," Miles says. "Most artist grants these days lean toward sustainability or social practice art, and I'm also mindful of being a liberal arts program that serves all our students' interests."

In the past, students in her classes have worked on art projects with local Boy Scout troops and recycled latex paint for the community. As for the golf course, it's a different take on "art for art's sake." The money her students collect from individual donations and hole sponsorships will go toward art materials and equipment for Ridpath Elementary, Deer Meadow Elementary and Tzouanakis Intermediate in Greencastle. 

"There's more to art than just making things that exist in a gallery," Miles says. 

The Peeler Putt-Putt golf course will be open through March 21st, 9am-7pm, in and around Peeler. Money or art supplies for local schools can be donated in the lobby. The golf course is free and open to all.

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