Art Project Now Rings on Historic Campus

Gwen Kelling ’16 sculpted and cast a new campus bell, rung for the first time at the 2016 Commencement.

The OWU academic year begins and ends with the ringing of OWU’s original class bell. And now, a new bell stands in the center of campus as a symbol of peace and as testament to the creative work of OWU students.

Fine Arts and Botany major Gwen Kelling ’16, a member of the House of Peace and Justice, designed and cast the bell as part of her senior project to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the P&J community. The 21-inch diameter, 200-pound bell is the largest sculpture ever produced at Haycock Hall, setting a size record for iron casting at Ohio Wesleyan.

University leaders decided to proudly display the bell near Elliott Hall and Merrick Lawn, the site of graduation, and it was rung there for the first time at the close of 2016 Commencement.

Kelling, a native of Morrow, Ohio, researched bell-founding over the summer of 2015 before undertaking her bell project last fall. She visited The Verdin Company, a bell foundry in Cincinnati, where she observed the casting of five large bronze bells, each weighing about 500 pounds.

Kelling says the bell celebrates the relationship between P&J resident activists and the arts. “We all have this deep connection to the peace our house has fostered for years, the joy it has fostered in all of its members. I see in my housemates the same latent drive to change the world that brought me to P&J in the first place.”

Return to the Fall 2016 OWU Magazine