University News

Local Artist to Create Labyrinth at HH Preschool

April 24, 2006

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MACOMB, IL – Preschoolers at Western Illinois University’s Infant and Preschool Center will get a taste of the arts Tuesday, April 25.

From 3:30-6 p.m. at the center, located in Horrabin Hall, local artist Kelley Quinn and 25 preschoolers, along with their teachers and families, will construct a 30-foot diameter permanent three-circuit labyrinth. According the Quinn, the labyrinth will be made with crushed pink limestone, drought resistant grasses and aluminum edging. The Horrabin Hall labyrinth is also completely handicap accessible. A series of projects will emphasize identifying circles through childrenÂ’s books, nature walks and a variety of circle activities.

Quinn explained that labyrinths have been used by every culture as a catalyst for change in individuals and communities.

“Currently labyrinths are experiencing a revival because of their simple holistic effects. Labyrinths can be found in schools, churches, hospitals, airports, nursing homes, parks, retreat centers, prisons and even progressive businesses,” she added. “They are used for spiritual and religious purposes; health and well-being; artistic expression; and just for fun.”

Labyrinths are unicursal, meaning there is only one path to the center of what appears to be concentric circles. They differ from mazes, which are multicursal, meaning they have multiple paths and dead-ends. Because the labyrinth has only one path, the simple act of walking to the center and back usually creates a sense of calm in the walker.

The WIU Infant and Preschool Center has been holding bake sales and other fundraisers for the past year to help pay for the cost of the labyrinth garden and to improve the outdoor play area with new tables, benches and play equipment.

Quinn said the project is part of WesternÂ’s We Care beautification program to continually improve the quality of life on campus. The construction of the labyrinth is co-sponsored by the Physical Plant.

The Horrabin Hall labyrinth garden is the third public labyrinth created by Quinn and the seventh local permanent piece of community art. This project was partially funded by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency, and the Two Rivers Arts Council, a regional arts organization.

Posted By: Darcie Shinberger (
Office of University Communications & Marketing