Reflecting the ebb and flow of the creek that winds its way through the wooded landscape of the College, the 300-foot serpentine form of Crum Creek Meander is illuminated at night and animated by changing wind patterns. The sculpture, located on Parrish South lawn, stands as a spectacle for students who enter and exit Sharples Dining Hall at all hours of the day.
The intent of the piece, according to Levy, is to bring about "a sense of the Crum Creek into view, reminding us of the stream below, and of being in college: a place of transparency and reflection. And it manifests in vinyl this concept for passing through something, a threshold. That transition is so part of learning."
Levy merges the principles of art, ecology, and collaborative engagement. She graduated from Yale University with a B.A. in sculpture and a minor in forestry and earned an M.F.A. from Tyler School of Art at Temple University. Levy is the recipient of numerous awards including the Excellence in Estuary Award and the Public Art Year in Review Award, as well as grants from the Pew Fellowship in the Arts, the Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation, and a New Forms Regional Grant. Her dozens of public art commissions have transformed diverse sites from Niigata, Japan to the Delaware River, Philadelphia and Hudson River Park, N.Y.
Levy's art intends to expose the unseen beauty and order of nature by constructing environments that adapt to natural forces. This trait was important to Swarthmore's List Gallery Director Andrea Packard '85, who has curated both of Levy's projects.
"One of the great gifts of art is its ability to make us more aware of our surroundings, of hidden forces, and the way changes in context or viewpoint can utterly transform our understanding of the world," Packard says. "Stacy Levy is one of those rare artists who is an exemplar to others in all aspects of her practice: conceptual design, problem-solving, craft, civic engagement, humor/irony, gracefulness, stamina in the face of adversity, eloquence, concern for the environment, and warmth of spirit."
Levy's recent projects have included storm water runoff to reduce erosion and pollution. With water as a common theme, her works invite viewers to become more aware of water quality and flow in diverse environments, ranging from acid mine drainage to urban streams and suburban watersheds.
"My work is often about bringing the local nature into view, and... using industrial materials to allow you to see natural forces like the wind," Levy says. "Crum Creek Meander shows the ever changing weather conditions of the outdoor campus and is constantly altered by nature."
Earlier this month, Levy led a community-based artwork discussion that envisions the impact of our waste stream upon the waterways that sustain our way of life. Using thousands of clear glass and plastic vessels donated by members of the College and local communities and salvaged from our waste stream, Levy created a map of the Crum Creek on the List Gallery floor (above).