Dana Provence debuts his sabbatical piece “Buoys”


In a crowded art lecture hall, giggles broke out as a professor dressed as a sailor introduced Dana Provence, a Professor of Art at Adams State. Provence was presenting his nautical piece “Buoys”.

However, on the January 24th afternoon, the responsive audience quickly grew sentimental as Provence reflected on his unique sabbatical experience. “I felt like the luckiest guy on Earth. I poured my heart out to this work, and it’s overwhelming to see all the people who care,” said Provence.

Provence began by sharing his influences. At the beginning of the summer, he, his wife, and two-dozen art students traveled to Italy and Spain. “I saw so much art, it made my head spin,” said Provence, recalling a kiddie carousel and Chillida’s Wind Combs.

He was also inspired by his connection to the water. Growing up in the Northwest, his dad always had a boat, and he was constantly near water. It is vital to life, and he had the pleasure of kayaking to the boot of Spain to see Chillida’s Wind Combs.

Finally, he was inspired by his previous experience in sculpting using a wide variety of mediums, such as metal, glass, and porcelain.

Provence stripped an old bus to make a riverboat. He chose this medium because it represents America. It’s identifiable for all people. He then made five motorized buoys that included lights and sound imitating an oceanic scene.

All of these mediums were new to Provence. He had never used a school bus, sound equipment, or the same motorizing technology. He was surprised to find out how little material was actually usable from a bus, and he found it surprisingly easy to use the new technology.

Provence’s goal was to make his piece a metaphor for the human journey. “Our lives are like riverboats; they are full of enchantment, rediscovery, and being in the moment. However, if we aren’t careful, we end up being like the buoys that are moving but not truly living because they settle for something less,” said Provence.

It’s a beautiful and captivating display that can only truly be experienced in person.

“It has been a wild and crazy ride, and I can’t wait to get back to a regular sleep pattern,” said Provence.