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This lot is still full of gravel, but that doesn't stop it from being art


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Over the course of a weekend, Columbia College's Papermaker's Garden on 8th and Wabash was transformed from a gravel pit to the home of an untitled, temporary art installation. Using the gravel that so frumpily filled the space before, eight students created an eye-popping display. On one end of the garden, rocks were arranged into what look like miniature crop circles, with blue painted rings of gravel increasing in size until they ultimately become shapeless. On the other end, stones were placed inside the rungs of a chain-link fence and piled at the base, giving the eerie impression that the gravel is rising up and charging into the adjacent parking lot, crashing against the fence like a wave.

The garden, which is used to grow fibrous plants for Columbia's papermaking course, will be remodeled in June as part of the Wabash Arts Corridor, a partnership between the school, the city, and local businesses to beautify a stretch of Wabash in the South Loop. The plants aren't yet in full bloom—the garden will come to life as its plants flourish this summer—but Christopher Bednash, a graduate student who worked on the installation, said he wanted to give the space some color and life in the meantime.

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