What's with the tripods of tall sticks supporting leafy green vines nestled in a niche outside the Wexner Center along College Road? It's The Beanfield, a two-year public art project created by artist Michael Mercil as part of the Living Culture Initiative in Ohio State's Department of Art in partnership with the Wexner Center and the Social Responsibility Initiative in the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences.
Mercil, a associate professor in the art department, and his students planted four varieties of beans in the spot in 2006, tended them as they grew, and harvested them this fall. The cycle is being repeated in 2007.
The project was inspired by the "bean-field" Henry David Thoreau cultivated near Walden Pond and wrote about in his 19th-century classic Walden. It offers a nod to the university's agricultural heritage and reflects its ongoing commitment to provocative public and social art.
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