TAMU-CC students design and install living sculptures of native animals

Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi is getting a little greener after sculpture and fabrication students designed and installed living sculptures at 10 locations on campus.

Visiting professor April Terra Livingston and her class of nine women welded and filled 13 sculptures of animals native to Coastal Bend, including a giant centipede, ghost shrimp, banded armadillo, ghost crab, rattlesnake from the Texas and Kemp’s Ridley sea turtle.

Livingston, a visiting professor for two semesters, brought this project idea from her hometown of Mobile, Alabama.

“I knew when I took the making course that I wanted to do something with nature and wildlife, so it seemed like a perfect fit,” Livingston said. “In my own works, I do a lot of work about nature, the causes of nature and the preservation of nature.”

After soldering the sculpture’s frame, the students wrapped their piece in chicken wire and began stuffing it with sphagnum moss and other living plants donated by Gill Garden Center and Turners’ Gardenland and purchased with funds from the university and Office Depot.

Autumn Scrimpsher, 24, works on a living sculpture of a ghost shrimp for her sculpting and crafting class at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi on Thursday, April 28, 2022.

Autumn Scrimpsher, 24, is a TAMU-CC student graduating this year and said it was the first time she had seen something like this done on campus. One of Scrimpsher’s projects, the Ghost Crab, ended up being bigger than expected.

“I came in every night just to try to do this for the last two or three weeks,” Scrimpsher said.

The plants used in the sculptures are chosen specifically for each creature. Scrimpsher’s Ghost Crab and Ghost Shrimp sculptures will feature white flowers and light colored foliage to represent the naturally white colors of the animals. Each of the sculptures is accompanied by a sign with information about the project.

Kathryn Chambers, 21, left, and Professor April Terra Livingston add the finishing touches to a living sculpture of a Texas Rattlesnake at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi on Thursday, April 28, 2022.

The university’s Islander Green Team, a group of students promoting sustainability and environmental initiatives, will pick up the plants when the sculptures are removed two weeks after installation. Plants and moss will be planted around campus.

“My students are so awesome and talented,” Livingston said. “I wish I could take them with me when I get home. The students at TAMU-CC are the best students I’ve ever worked with. They’re really motivated, they’ve been really passionate about this project, and that’s it is an honor to be their teacher.”

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Ashlee Burns covers trends and breaking news in South Texas. Check out our subscription options and special offers at Caller.com/subscribe.