Riding a ‘Positivity Wave’

Posted: July 12, 2013

By winning the Weller Memorial Sculpture Competition, Shammia McQuaig ’14 earned the opportunity to create Positivity Wave. Her graceful arc of welded steel and natural fiber has been installed in front of Hege-Cox Hall, where it will remain until May 2015.

“When a wave crashes it covers everything,” said Shammia, who is majoring in art. “I was thinking about community. Why not have a positive wave crash over Guilford?”

A longtime artist, Shammia has dedicated herself to a sculpture major during the past year. She practices independently and in sculpture classes, focusing on welded-steel constructions.

Students who win the College’s Allen and Rachel Weller Competition are often working on larger, more permanent projects than they have before. Challenges of increased scale, outdoor durability, public safety and budget become formidable as a small model is rendered at monumental scale.

To get started Shammia solicited the help of prominent local sculptor Jim Gallucci. Jim and his crew of assistants worked with Shammia to bend heavy steel pipes into the smooth curves of Positivity Wave.

The sculpture is a tribute to Shammia’s aunt Theresa, who died in the spring.

“She was a really positive, helpful, caring person. She was always making creative, thoughtful gifts,” Shammia said while she was working on Positivity Wave. “I needed this. Art is my therapy.”

Shammia is the first Africana student to win the Weller Competition. The honor occurred while the Guilford community was celebrating and reflecting on 50 years of integration and black achievement.

In 1969 artist and educator James McMillan was hired in the Art Department as the College’s first black faculty member. Shammia’s accomplishment 44 years later reflects progress toward our Core Values of integrity, equality and diversity.

Her talents and dedication also earned her a place in the selective Senior Thesis program for the 2013-14 academic year.

Last Updated: January 9, 2014