Okay, so I finally solved the Mystery of the Paper ‘Shrooms.
As you may remember, I was dying to know the origin of these mock mushrooms that were popping up along the walkway between Massey Hall to the main part of campus (a.k.a., the Magical Forest).
Well, not long after my frustrated post, I received an e-mail from Channing Frampton, a junior media arts major at RMU, with a concentration in TV/video and a minor in theatre. According to Frampton, he and his classmates created these particular paper fungi as part of an installation art project for his humanities class taught by Barbara Burgess-Lefebvre, M.F.A., assistant professor of communications here at RMU.
The first time he saw paper mushrooms along the pathway, Frampton, like me, was curious about their origin. Once he signed up for the humanities class, he learned that this particular medium and subject was chosen because it added to the “magical wonder” of this scenic part of the RMU campus. And being that they’re made of paper, the mushrooms were a great choice for Prof. Lefebvre, who teaches her students to be environmentally conscious.
"I want my humanities students to have hands-on experiences with art - not to just learn about them," says Lefebvre, who wanted a project that could be accomplished in one class, that didn't require any particular artistic experience, and that they could do together. "We talk about installation art and performance art in class and then tackle the mushroom project," she says. "Even the students who are dubious about their mushroom can see the effect that everyone's work has together.
"My idea," she adds, "is just to throw a piece of installation art at the campus, to make folks walking by do a double take, and really start to look at what is around them; to add something unexpected to that lovely walk between Hale and Massey."
So there you have it. Mystery solved. And you probably thought that the paper mushrooms were put there by mischievous little gnomes who live high in the towering pines of the Magical Forest. Ha! How silly of you!
Everyone knows that the gnomes live underground.