If you’ve ever picked up greasy, oh-so-satisfying Chinese food from Happy Garden, you’ve probably noticed the huge bronze statue huddled on the steps across the street.
This larger-than-life statue of a man curled in on himself is called “Eternal Vigilance,” and it marks the former State Street entrance of the Erie Art Museum (EAM).
This haunting statue is only a taste of what lies inside.
The museum features several permanent exhibits, as well as rotating exhibits from both local and global artists.
A perennial student favorite is the hypnotic H2O Vortex, which is popular for trippy Instagram posts.
The piece plays with controlled wavelengths of light to create an ever-expanding matrix in the eyes of the viewer.
In addition to visual pieces that explore perception and reality, the museum also offers displays that delve into history, experience and culture.
For example, the basement features an ongoing South Asian collection.
This gallery contains art from a multitude of regions and religions, ranging from the asceticism of Indian Buddhism and Jainism to the sumptuousness of southern Hinduism.
Another current exhibit is an artist takeover by Roman Glass, which is on display in the Nancy & Warner Bacon Gallery.
Glass is continuously working to recreate the streets and alleys of Erie through an artistic lens.
“I can pull the same [manhole covers] from five different places around the city and they all look the same, despite being from the westside or eastside, rich neighborhoods or poor neighborhoods,” Glass said on the Erie Art Museum website.
“They represent a type of commonality. Most people don’t even notice them, but that’s the idea. What if we spent more time noticing the things we have in common? I want to start a conversation”.
As an added incentive to visit, admission is pay-what-you-wish from 1 – 5 p.m. every second Sunday of the month.
I definitely took advantage of this offer when I worked at Dollar General my freshman year.
Before my Sunday evening shifts, you could catch me meandering through the thought-provoking exhibits before walking two blocks south to work.
Cliché as it sounds, those visits would change the tone of my entire cashiering shift.
The dingy yellow baskets looked brighter, cranky customers suddenly had more depth and I had some interesting things to chew on while I went through the motions of ringing, bagging and repeating.
I encourage you to grab a few friends and visit the museum on Sunday, Nov. 11, to enjoy pay-what-you-wish admission.
There will also be free print-making for all ages from 2 – 4 p.m.
Prints will be made under the guidance of local artist Roman Glass and centered around the idea of gender.
Whether you are a first-time visitor or a dedicated EAM groupie, there is always something new to discover at the museum.