Art display brings ‘wonder’ to Saddleback’s campus

The new ‘wonder’ letter display leave student’s wondering where they came from. (Niko LaBarbera/Lariat)

The Saddleback campus has experienced several transformations over the past year.

The newest addition to the campus would have to be the giant art installment in the amphitheater beside the fine arts building that reads wonder.

Saddleback college’s art department has teamed up with the city of Mission Viejo to bring art awareness to the Saddleback campus and the city of Mission Viejo. The wonder art instillation is the first piece in a series of features the department has planned.

Produced by Niko LaBarbera / JRN 106 Video Journalism /

Artist Joe Brubaker and his group the “Exquisite Gardeners” are the masterminds behind the wonder installation at Saddleback.

According to the Exquisite Gardeners website, their group consists of roughly 23 ‘curious and hardworking people from all walks of life who work to make transformative art from everyday materials.’

The group have had art pieces and installations featured in galleries and venues across the country and now have their sites set on Saddleback.

The wonder project was first displayed earlier this year at the Mission Viejo Arts Alive and Street Painting Festival where volunteers of all ages took turns designing the 6-foot-tall plywood letters with paintings and poems all relating to the notion and idea of wonder.

Although the letters were painted and designed by volunteers at the art festival, the Exquisite Gardeners incorporated images of gardens on portions of the letters which were inspired by Vincent Van Gogh, according the Exquisite Gardener’s website.

With the goal of the installation being to wonder, the gardeners have achieved just that leaving Saddleback students wondering just what these letters are and where they came from.

“They’re cool but kind of random.” 20-year-old photography student Noah Garret said. “ They kind of came out of nowhere, but the art is cool.”

While some students appear to show an interest in the art others have expressed distaste at the location of the installation.

“I used to sit there between classes.” 21-year-old film major Jeremy Ellis said. “It’d be nice if they were somewhere students didn’t sit.”

Although some may not be pleased with the location, the exhibit has proven to catch students attention. Some have been seen photographing the installation while others continue to sit in the open areas of the amphitheater.

For now this remains to be the sole feature bringing art awareness to Saddleback, but in the coming months Saddleback will see another new installment.

The gardeners plan to bring their mosaic bear project to Saddleback this November to be erected outside the main entrance to the Learning Resource Center.