Art professor Scott Fuller was awarded a prestigious Olympic Ring Award in Beijing, China, as part of the Olympic Landscape Sculpture Contest. Fuller's sculpture was one of 50 Ring Award winners out of 290 finalists selected as "Excellent Works." The sculpture featured a series of towering gates, each designed to resemble a flame. Of the finalists, 29 entrants received gold, silver, and bronze medals, followed by the Ring Award winners.
Fuller attended the award ceremony in Beijing with sculpture co-designer Asherah Cinnamon in May. They were the only Americans present at the red-carpet event broadcast on Chinese TV.
Fuller and Cinnamon's design traveled to 35 countries during the last year, as part of an international tour featuring the top-tier works chosen from the original 2,400 designs submitted. Only two other Americans had sculpture designs in the tour of finalists.
Fuller says the sculpture contest transcended language barriers and was a powerful diplomatic tool that China gave the world. "It's a case of art promoting global goodwill," he says.
Fuller also met Chinese earthquake victims and heard their stories because the award ceremony also served as a tribute to them. "I hugged a teacher who had lost his school, and I promised to build a sculpture in remembrance for his province," says Fuller. "The real importance of this experience was the creation of peaceful international dialog and cultural exchange. It has reaffirmed my belief that art has the power to heal social misunderstanding and tragic events."
The Olympic Ring Award models will be displayed at the Olympics this summer, along with the medal winners.