APSU has added a new permanent sculpture to the bowl in front of the Woodward Library.
The sculpture, entitled The Cardboard Kids: Monument to the Nontraditional Student, features three metal “vehicles” meant to represent the nontraditional student body of APSU. The makeshift models are meant to look ragged and pieced together improperly to signify the struggles and sacrifices nontraditional students experience to continue their education.
Chris Boyd Taylor from the University of Alabama in Huntsville created the piece. Taylor made a brief visit to APSU in late 2015, where he met the diverse student body which inspired The Cardboard Kids.
“As I spoke with the students at APSU, I quickly realized that a large percentage of the student population fits into the wonderful category known as the nontraditional student,” Taylor said. I also feel that these car-like object embody unique personalities, they have eyes (headlights) and a distinct face.”
Taylor was a nontraditional student. “I didn’t start college till the age of 21,” he said. “I’ve seen nontraditional students play admirable balancing acts, as they fight for an education. This determination shows all the students the value of a college education.”
Taylor said he wanted the process and the material itself to reflect the history of nontraditional students. So instead of making “slick, streamlined vehicles,” Taylor created the sculpture using steel with an aged, worn look, resembling cardboard.
“APSU inspired the piece. If I hadn’t been on campus and met students, this project wouldn’t have happened. Both nontraditional students and the campus topography made this piece,” Taylor said.
A university press release said Taylor’s piece was selected out of a large international pool of work because of how The Cardboard Kids highlights APSU’s unique dips and bowls. Taylor will be on campus again for an artist’s talk Aug. 30.