Etched in Stone

Bill Mauro has been sketching for as long as he can remember, but at first, did not consider pursuing a degree in art. After about two semesters at Lycoming, he found himself drawing more frequently and decided to check out the art department.

“I took a prerequisite course in color and design and a course in drawing and really felt a connection, like I’d found my niche,” said Mauro.

A native of Williamsport and now a senior studying art with a concentration in painting, Mauro was recently honored with Lycoming’s Alfred Kohler Studio Artist Award. The award is in memory of Kohler, a non-traditional student who spent 10 years in the College’s art department pursuing his second love – studio art. He took every course the program offered, many of them more than once.

Made possible by the generous support of art faculty, alumni and friends of the College, the prize is given to an art major in their sophomore or junior year to fund an independent project. Mauro was chosen for the award based on a proposal he submitted for his sculpture.

“The two, small sculptures were inspired by the rock cuts along Route 15 north of Williamsport,” says Mauro. “As I looked at them, I imagined a giant hydraulic press with the exact negative of the rock face, and how it would look both organic and industrial. I assume the cuts were made using a combination of explosives and machinery – I wanted to create something natural and undulating, using a lot of force and energy.” The sculptures are on display in the College’s art gallery in Snowden Library until the end of the spring semester.

Mauro humbly attributes much of his accomplishment to his professors.

“Many professors will sit on the floor with students and go by their first names,” said Mauro. “I’ve heard Howard Tran [assistant professor of art] say that you aren’t an artist just because someone gives you a piece of paper; you’re an artist here, and now. Some people might think that this would result in a lot of bad art, or a loss of respect for the professors; I think the opposite is true. Art can’t happen when you’re feeling scared or intimidated. By encouraging trial and error within a relaxed and secure atmosphere, the professors allow students to see the complexity and beauty of what it is they do every time they create.”

Mauro’s artistic aptitude has led him toward another Lycoming program: he is double-majoring increative writing. “Having studied both creative writing and visual art now, I realize they aren’t all that disparate,” he states. “Each major has helped me to understand and appreciate the other.”

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