Mini golf at the Herron? 

click to enlarge The Art History department's hole refers to Warhol and Picasso, among other seminal artists.
  • The Art History department's hole refers to Warhol and Picasso, among other seminal artists.

You might not expect a tour through art history with your miniature golf, or obstacles inspired by the likes of Andy Warhol and Ai Weiwei. But that's exactly what you'll get this Saturday evening at the Herron School of Art and Design.

The miniature golf course was developed by student-faculty teams representing the school's various departments - nine teams for nine holes. Proceeds will help fund the scholarships of Herron students.

Each of the miniature golf holes will reflect the specialty of the department entrusted with its construction, according to director of foundation studies Reagan Furqueron.

"The art history hole was created by a group of grad students," says Furqueron. "They polled the art history department for ideas and then they created work from there. Their hole is a brief tour through art history. It has examples of almost all the big guys. They've used imagery from Picasso to Andy Warhol to Ai Weiwei and a number of others as dimensional obstacles within the course."

Each of the departments played to its strengths, according to Furqueron. "The furniture department here has woodshop implements on their course," he says. "Some of the pieces come together using dovetail, which is a kind of joinery used in that program. There's real live furniture on the course."

click to enlarge A custom-made Herron Open golf ball.
  • A custom-made Herron Open golf ball.

But is it playable?

"Absolutely," says Furqueron. "The only expectations I put on the groups working was that they be an original piece, they be playable, and they be well made. The people coming to play will experience a mini golf type situation but it's a little more dimensional than what you've seen before. We're thinking about golf in a different kind of way."

Credit for the concept goes to Herron Dean Valerie Eickmeier, according to Furqueron.

"Her idea was for a student scholarship fundraiser, a hard one not to get behind," says Furqueron. "Our students are doing a lot to come here and we wanted to pay them back with whatever we can to do help them. Also, true golfers probably don't spend a lot of time in a mini golf course nor do they spend a lot of time at art school. So it's a way to get a different demographic within the building."

The construction of the mini golf course itself, he says, was a chance to foster a different type of student-faculty interaction than normally happens in the classroom.

"This is a good opportunity for our students to work together with us as peers," says Furqueron. "In the classroom the faculty member runs the show pretty much. In this situation we act more as peers and we're able to work together and bounce ideas off each other, being able to use the students' strengths in a different kind of a way.
We didn't start by thinking that this would be an educational situation for them but it ended up being just that."

And if you're what will happen to all of these golf holes after the one night event, fear not: these nine golf holes were made to be portable and reusable.

That's one of the things that we felt was important," says Furqueron. "Though it's a one night event, we're looking for second, third fourth uses as well."


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