The Mentors sculpture is a public sculpture created by Aris Demetrios displayed on the SBCC West Campus grounds. The sculpture, which is a fountain, is made of three bronze pillars with a height of 18 feet that form a central motif around which a circular fountain is built and is located on a site that overlooks the Pacific Ocean. The pillars have an undulating surface and flat tops with tapering ends. Although the three pillars have a similar height, they are each differently shaped, with the shapes of each of the pillars designed to be complimentary, hence producing a powerful visual effect. The fountain is in a slightly raised open ground, free of any obstructions, making it the focal point of the surrounding, and visible from many parts of the campus grounds.
Owing to the location of the fountain, it has great visibility and can be easily accessed from any direction due to the absence of obstacles. The Pacific Ocean that it overlooks adds a beautiful scenic background to the sculpture, enhancing its aesthetics. The sculpture also acts as an important and beautiful filler of space, which will otherwise have been open ground. The fountain blends well with the background and does not jar the senses, owing to its graceful and understated simplicity, which enhances the surroundings, appearing more of a natural peak of the undulatinglandscape rather than a garish foreign object. Therefore, the fountain by being relatively inconspicuous, beautifully supplements the surroundings, making it a valuable addition to the campus grounds. In addition to providing a means of containing the water in the fountain, the rim around the fountain can be used for sitting, providing an efficient utilization of resources.
An analysis of the fountain shows that it has employed subtle Christian iconography to convey a subliminal message. The fountain has three pillars, which can be equated to the trinity doctrine espoused by Christians as representing the nature of god, with the number three thought of being divine and representing wisdom, understanding, and harmony, in addition to being the first number forming a geometrical figure, a triangle. Considering that education is partly responsible for the formation of an individual’s character and opinions, the sculpture can be seen as a symbolic representation of the role education has in molding individuals. The fountain is a nonrepresentational form of sculpture that is abstract, which uses the idea of pillars in nature and modifies it slightly to produce the undulating pillars. Although the fountain’s pillars are architecturally unsound, they are rich in symbolism that is appropriate to an institution of higher learning.
The pillars are designed in such a way that it appears that they are supplementing and supporting each other, representative of the learning process that involves constant interaction between students and teacher, not only in the class but also outside the classroom. The appearance of mutual support and dependence of the pillars is metaphoric of a healthy and vibrant learning process, where the teacher and the student-mentor each other. Knowledge is shared, and there is no single source of absolute knowledge because the students have their prior experiences that they bring to the classroom that can be harnessed to enhance learning. The sculpture, like the vast sea in the background, encourages students to embrace a lifelong commitment in the pursuit of knowledge in the understanding that the boundaries of knowledge are limitless.