From a simple journalism and communications perspective, Kent State’s Franklin Hall, the home of the School of Journalism and Communication, needed a star. Many news organizations, domestic and international, from newspapers to online news sources include Star or Sun (our personal star) in their mastheads. In Ohio alone we find the Ashtabula Star Beacon, Cleveland’s Sun News papers, Lebanon’s The Western Star, The Marion Star, Ravenna’s Ohio Star, The Springboro Sun, Springfield’s News-Sun and Steubenville’s The Herald-Star.
But especially relevant, not only to Franklin Hall, but to the university as a whole, was the need for a work that symbolizes those freedoms explicitly cited and implicit in the 1st Amendment that distinguish our rights as Americans above all other international democratic constitutions. The John Filo photo of the front-page New York Times article and housed in the Kent State May 4, 1970 archives, illustrate the fundamental capacity of the free press and photojournalism. That Kent State University, at that moment in history, so dramatically highlighted the critical freedoms expressed by the 1st Amendment inspired the creation of StarSphere forty years later
StarSphere is designed to create a sense of a three-dimensional starburst of space contained within an intersecting circular construction. At nearly 12 feet in height, it is quite a bit larger than human scale, easily visible from the street and the campus drive. It is symbolic, yet abstract and dynamic. The form is finished with an all-over glass bead-blasted surface, for a matte, yet luminescent, ethereal quality. The text of the 1st Amendment in a Times font, edges the circumference of the full disc, in raised, reversed capital letters, like in letterset press. This tactile text surface is suitable for rubbing, to bring the viewer into intimate contact with the work, to capture letters and words and take away.