By Cam Tranchemontagne, Contributing Writer

Cam Tranchemontagne/contributing One of the new bicycle racks, a piece called “Helix”  sits in front of the Paul Creative Arts Center. The artist, Rebecca Emerson-Brown, was looking to create something both practical and aesthetically pleasing.

Cam Tranchemontagne/contributing
One of the new bicycle racks, a piece called “Helix” sits in front of the Paul Creative Arts Center. The artist, Rebecca Emerson-Brown, was looking to create something both practical and aesthetically pleasing.

Bike racks are such a common sight at the University of New Hampshire, nobody looks twice at them. Recently, however, a new type of bike rack has appeared on campus — sculptural bike racks; both functional racks and expressive works of art.

The idea originated with the Dean of the College of Liberal Arts Kenneth Fuld. “I got the idea a number of years ago when I was in Des Moines, Iowa, visiting my son,” Fuld said. “Scattered throughout the city were a number of whimsical, artistic bike racks.”

Fuld immediately recognized the racks’ potential at UNH. “Two thoughts occurred to me: UNH’s reputation as a bike-friendly, green university and the almost complete absence of public art on our campus.”

Cam Tranchemontagne/contributing “Freedom,” created by artist Kathy Staley, stands outside Hewitt Hall. This particular piece was made completely out of aluminum.

Cam Tranchemontagne/contributing
“Freedom,” created by artist Kathy Staley, stands outside Hewitt Hall. This particular piece was made completely out of aluminum.

Fuld reached out to Jennifer Moses, chair of the department of art and art history, to propose the idea that students themselves could create the sculptures. Moses then contacted Professor Ben Cariens, who teaches a course in metal fabrication with Sculpture Technician Adam Pearson, about the idea.

Cariens was enthusiastic about incorporating the project into his class. “This project has brought many useful dimensions to a course primarily structured around materials and techniques,” he said. “A stronger emphasis of design was focused by the functional component.”

Students enrolled in the class had to follow an extensive process of designing model after model to be approved in front of a committee. “We started off making drawings of any form that interested us,” said Andrew Upton,