Since it was founded in 1963, Lorain County Community College (LCCC) has continued to achieve new heights in making education exceptional and affordable to students throughout the region. To commemorate the 25th anniversary of LCCC’s University Partnership and the college’s 58th commencement, the college has unveiled SOAR, a new outdoor installation of 2,022 sculpted birds designed to symbolize graduates’ mobility as they embark on new pathways to success.

Visitors are invited to walk around the 200-foot-long installation to view the birds, which are in perpetual motion, and experience the sensation of what it’s like when a flock takes flight. The winged creatures are strung along thin wires attached to 58 white poles representing each year the college has held a commencement ceremony.

The eye-catching installation, located in front of the Bass Library and facing Abbe Road, will be on display through November.

“The goal of the installation is to celebrate the success of our students and alumni and [depict] how their success lifts the region through their contributions,” says Alison Musser, Lorain County Community College’s director of strategic community engagement initiatives. “More than 90% of our graduates live and work in Northeast Ohio, contributing to our communities through their professional careers as nurses, social workers, teachers, cyber security professionals and engineers.

“We are,” she adds, “educating the students who give back to our community.”

Musser credits LCCC project designer Jim Gundlach with spearheading SOAR’s design.

“Jim has a long history not only in graphic design, but also in public art,” she says. “His work has been focused on these areas for more than three decades of his life, so he has a lot of creative ideas.”

SOAR also features kinetic components, including disks comprising what Musser calls “a flower garden of graduate quotes” interspersed along the base of the sculpture that visitors can access on their cell phones through scannable codes, which include images of student art projects.

“Since there are 2,022 kinetic birds in the air, the installation has a lot of movement,” Gundlach says. “Five hundred small prisms add sparkle when the sun shines. Personally, it’s a moment of pride to drive by it and think about the symbolism. Everything has a meaning, and I hope people take a moment to reflect on all it represents.”