Sacred Space Portals Competition: Prospectus

Visual Concept:

Sacred Space is a collaborative art installation which focuses on cultural and natural diversity. Education of viewers to the beauty and variety of religious culture and the natural environment is the essential motivation for the exhibition. Extensive research is recommended for all entries in order to ensure accuracy of design and sensitivity to cultural conditions. Exploration of non-western cultures and environments is encouraged.


Sacred Space will be exhibited in the Amsden Gallery of the Ulrich Museum of Art on the campus of Wichita State University from April 4 through August, 2002. In the center of the room will be a painted canvas labyrinth surrounded by hanging paper banners and origami. Mounted on the three walls of the gallery will be eight to twelve open faux portals with interior views onto landscape murals.

Design Specifications:

These specifications are meant as guidelines to help insure some consistency throughout the exhibition. Justification for variations on these specifications can be included in the support materials.

Portal designs will be based on the religious architecture of a specific culture. These might include entrances to temples, shrines, churches, synagogues, mosques, and monumental gateways with religious significance. Cultures without religious architecture can be represented by entrances to domestic architecture, the home typically being the site of religious or spiritual observances. Include a step or threshold in the design.

Landscape designs will be grounded in the natural environment of the culture explored, and will include animals and plants that are endangered species and/or have symbolic meaning in the culture. Landscape design should depict daylight, and the horizon line should be 5 feet from the base of the design. Do not include people in the landscape. An excellent web site for finding information about endangered species is the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, CITES has a database which can be searched by country. For help with research or further clarification contact Kathy Hull, room 211, 8 am to 2 pm M-F, 978-7722.

Finished portals will be made of 3 mil. Armacore plastic sheeting which can be cut to shape and laminated for low relief effects. Height minimum is 8 feet, maximum is 12 feet. Width minimum is 4 feet, maximum is 6 feet. All materials necessary for the finished portals will be provided. Volunteer assistance will be available to artists in the completion of selected designs.

Presentation Specifications:

Portal / Landscape designs must be presented on 20 x 30 inch crescent board available in McKnight Room 105. Designs will be presented in full color, centered on the board, with a brief title (culture, country, period, and/or religion). Designs will be to scale, 2 inches = 1 foot on finished portal.

Support materials are required and should be bound with a clear report cover. Availability of information on cultures (especially non-western) will vary greatly, gather as much as you can. Include the following items in the order listed:

  1. Line drawing of the design, title.

  2. Artist's statement concerning the relevance of the design to the overall purpose of the exhibit, one page double spaced (about 300 words).

  3. Culture notes: location and time period, influences, description of religion, relationship of religious practices to the architecture and/or environment.

  4. Architectural notes: stylistic period, site specific examples, symbolic and decorative motifs, use of color, photocopies of general and detailed images of architectural examples and source material.

  5. Landscape notes: identification of animals and plants used, descriptions of endangered species and their current status, descriptions of symbolic species and their relevance, photocopies of any source material.

  6. Bibliography and webliography.

Eligibility and Awards:

Competition is open to all WSU students and Decorative Arts Guild members. Each participant may submit up to three designs for consideration. Awards are being arranged at this time.


November 30: Designs must be delivered to Diane Lincoln's office, room 305 McKnight by noon.

December: Jury selection of designs and notification of winning entries.

January 3: Construction of selected designs will begin in the McKnight atrium, times to be announced.

March 24: Installation begins in the Ulrich Museum.

April 4: Museum exhibition opens to the public. Designs will be exhibited in the McKnight atrium.

August: Exhibition closes.


The Sacred Space exhibition is being sponsored and funded by the Ulrich Museum of Art, the WSU School of Art and Design, and the WSU Decorative Arts Guild.