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Sunday, July 23, 2017

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Blaffer walk brings art and health to campus community


Art for your Health Walks are held every Friday at noon until April 21. | Kaylee Dusang/ The Cougar

It’s not hard to find a wandering tour group on campus: prospective students, parents, school groups, etc. Art for your Health Walks, held every Friday from Feb. 17 to April 21, cater to a different kind of tour group.

The walks are a collaboration between the University of Houston Public Art Collection, POWER UP Employee Wellness and the Blaffer Art Museum. Tour guides from the Blaffer Art Museum are on hand to provide a brief lesson about each piece on the tour, which lasts around 30 minutes and visits four pieces of public art on campus.

“We all rush about our daily life looking at our phone or running to our next appointment,” MFA graduate student Alton DuLaney said. “We walk right past this really incredible public art, and what (the walk) does is it encourages everyone to slow down and look at it and realize what’s around us. We’ve got this incredible collection right here at our fingertips.”

DuLaney works for the Blaffer Art Museum and was one of the tour guides for the March 3 walk. DuLaney said the Museum is trying to promote awareness of the public art collection on campus, which is one of the largest in the country.

The tours, which provide the opportunity for the University community to focus on becoming physically active while learning about the campus public art, have continued from last fall into the spring semester.

“It was just to get this idea of health and also to check out the art at the same time,” tour guide Kristen Armstrong said. “So I think it’s really beneficial for the students because you can go to college here for four years and not even really be aware of how unique it is that we have such an amazing public art program here.”

Armstrong said the purpose of the tour is for it to be concise because they are also focusing on the fast-walk, health aspect; information given for each piece of art is not as in-depth. There are also public art tours through the Blaffer Art Museum that provide hour-long teachings on the art.

The Art for Your Health Walks began in the Fall 2016 with only faculty and staff participating. This semester opened the doors for students to join as well.

“Even if you’re revisiting the same piece, you can see something different and hear something different,” said Mary Robson, an accountant in the enrollment service business office. “They are the kinds of pieces that can be appreciated from many angles in many seasons.”

Robson has been on all the walks, including those from the fall semester. She said she has learned so much from the walks and believes that more people should take advantage of them because anyone can benefit.

“It’s a great collection, get out and see some art and support the art collection at the University of Houston,” DuLaney said.

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