Heard on the Hill: Video honors KU students on Vietnam memorial wall; artist’s career-changing moment happened at KU, NYT reports; Dance Marathon raises more than $60K

Your daily dose of news, notes and links from around Kansas University.

• A late Veterans Day note: Check out this video tribute to the 57 KU students whose names are listed on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall in Washington, D.C.

This comes from the KU School of Journalism’s new Media Crossroads project, for which the J-School hired a director earlier this month. I’m hoping to provide a look soon into what all is going on down there.

But in the meantime, you can watch this video, which includes a number of KU dignitaries — Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little, Provost Jeff Vitter and athletic director Sheahon Zenger among them — reading those 57 names, as visuals from the Washington memorial, as well as the Vietnam War memorial on the KU campus, appear on screen.

• The New York Times last week previewed a new exhibition of artwork by KU alumnus Wendell Castle.

As the story tells it, the fateful moment that determined his career trajectory took place in a sculpture studio at KU. He was constructing a cabinet to hold his supplies when an instructor came in and made a remark about how he should be working on art rather than furniture.

Rather than heeding that instruction, Castle apparently set about figuring out how he could build furniture that could also be art. He ended up specializing in sculptural furniture, which blends the line between the two.

Alongside that NYT story are several examples of his work, bound to make you ponder questions such as: What is art, anyway? What is furniture? How much weight could I stack on top of that before it would tip over?

Some of Castle’s works from 1959 to 1979 are on display at the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum in Connecticut. And if you’re not an art aficionado and you’re wondering where else you may have heard Castle’s name lately, you likely saw an announcement that he’ll be among three recipients of honorary degrees at KU’s 2013 Commencement. He earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees at KU.

• The University Daily Kansan reported on that Dance Marathon event Saturday we let you know about last week.

It’s an effort to raise money for KU Pediatrics, and it certainly did that Saturday: It racked up more than $60,000, making for a total more than $120,000 between the group’s two events held this year. It was the first year it held two of them.

A hearty Heard on the Hill kudos goes to the organizers.

• Is Heard on the Hill art? Is it news? Can they be one and the same? I don’t know. That’s for you to decide. But whatever the case, it will be better if you keep sending those tips to merickson@ljworld.com.