"My fingers are raw," said artist Veronica Graham. Understandably so-from atop a steel ladder, Graham pushed in a pin and pegged down the final corner of a 6-by-6-inch cloth. It was just one of approximately 1,530 squares of white cloth she first screen-printed, then pinned to the walls of the recently revamped lobby of San Diego State University's Smith Recital Hall.
The installation, "6,000 Pins"-a combination of the cloth-covered walls and three protruding panels housing scenes of destroyed cityscapes-is what Graham conjured up after she was awarded the first-ever School of Music & Dance Gallery Installation Award, a juried cash prize that will be granted to one SDSU student annually, allowing the student to take over the newly dubbed Smith Recital Hall Gallery for nine months of the year.
Joseph Waters, associate professor of music at SDSU, came up with the idea for the award. He says roughly 10,000 people walk though the lobby every year, and he wanted to see a better use of the space.
"We had this really ugly, boring space," said Waters. "It had horrible florescent lights and pictures of former deans. It was embarrassing."
The university spent $11,000 over the summer turning the lobby into a gallery. The first major public debut will be at the NWEAMO festival, which kicks off Sept. 28.
An opening reception for "6,000 Pins" will be held from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 30, at the Smith Recital Hall Gallery on the SDSU campus. 619-594-1696.