Earlier this week “The Monarch” was unveiled in the Hamel Browsing Library at the University of Wisconsin Memorial Union, placed there to honor the 150th anniversary of women receiving degrees from UW-Madison. What this living, woven being of metal and air will signify for us will be revealed overtime. This weekend as the Class of 2019 graduates, let the meaning making begin!

THE MONARCH. Artist: Victoria Reed. Gift of the UW-Madison Class of 2019

For me, the Monarch evokes strength, fragility, openness, and the readiness to fly. I sense the hard fought and unapologetic embrace of one’s own beauty, uniqueness, scars. I imagine resilience in the face of strong winds on what seems to be an impossibly long journey. I am reminded of how exhilarating and scary it can be to leave the places that you love. And the blessed possibility of return.

Perhaps this sculpture is speaking to me, or perhaps this incredible beauty is what I have seen in my students over the years.

Meanwhile, for all, and especially for the 2019 graduates, here is a closer look at “The Monarch.”  I hope you have a chance to sit close for a while, consider the strength, marvel at the openness, see the possibilities, and contemplate flight.