Penn State Beaver

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In collaboration with students, staff, and faculty at Penn State Beaver, John Peña created an interactive artwork that is now installed centrally on campus with the primary goal of visualizing the interior emotional states of the campus community. This is achieved through a “forest” of about 70 temporary metal vertical uprights that are secured to the ground. Atop each upright is a colorful disc that can be easily removed and reattached. Each disc is painted a color that corresponds to a specific mood or feeling. Through visual signage, participants will learn about what each color signifies and they are invited to reflect on their current mood and place a disc on top of one of the uprights that best represents that mood. Over the course of the project, the color field will constantly change and we will get a glimpse of the previously invisible internal lives of the people at Penn State Beaver.

Peña is working with faculty to integrate sections of their curriculum into the project. Peña is also working with Penn State Beaver students, LaunchBox and the Maker Lab on the Beaver campus to assist in designing the color code, visual signage and explanatory information.


Carey McDougall, Director of Academic Affairs and Associate Professor of Art

Chris Rizzo, Director of Student Affairs

Kristen Doerschner, Director of Campus Relations

Robin Bower, Associate Professor of Spanish & Comparative Literature

Mari Pierce, Associate Professor of the Administration of Justice program

Angela Fishman, Associate Teaching Professor of Mathematics

Laurie Barnes, Instructor of Art

Sarah McMahon, Instructor of Art


Jenifer Cushman, Chancellor, Penn State Beaver

Mark Beatty, Physical Plant Supervisor

Michelle Kurtyka, Assistant to the Director of Academic Affairs, Lecturer

Adam Rathbun, Director of Business and Finance

Nicole Farls, Administrative Support Assistant

Ashu Kumar, Director of Beaver Valley Innovation Hub’s Launch Box, Instructor in Information Sciences and Technology

Jim Hendrickson, Assistant Teaching Professor of Engineering

Brandi Baros, Environmental Health and Safety Specialist, Environmental Health and Safety