​Arts Walk Labyrinth at Hunt Cavanagh

Chartres Cathedral Labyrinth
Chartres Cathedral Labyrinth

The labyrinth at the entry of the Department of Art and Art History represents a miniature replica of the 13th-century artistic motif featured on the floor of the great Gothic cathedral in Chartres, France.

The medieval fascination with labyrinths was inspired by ancient prototypes, the most famous coming from Greek mythology where Daedalus builds a labyrinth for King Minos at Knossos to house the Minotaur. The labyrinth also shares qualities with eastern mandalas as a symbol of sacred geometry. Gothic builders incorporated the labyrinth into many Catholic churches of Europe (i.e., Amiens), recasting it as an instrument of pilgrimage and prayer. The pilgrim followed 11 winding circuits set inside four quadrants culminating in a rosette center.  In this manner, the pilgrim was able to embark upon a spiritual journey to Jerusalem right in the local church structure itself.

The incorporation of this art historical motif in the visual arts district of campus not only connects Providence College to a long and rich tradition of sacred spaces and iconography, but provides a beautiful stopping point for admissions tours, gallery visitors, alumni, and current faculty, staff, and students.

Hunt Cavanagh Labyrinth:

The Hunt Cavanagh labyrinth- embedded in the walkway outside of the art gallery

This project includes about half an acre of land between Hunt-Cavanagh and Service Building from Dore Hall to Koffler. The objective of this project was to convert a former roadway to a pedestrian plaza that becomes the central spine of the Arts District. Currently the Arts Walk features destination spaces like McGlynn Court and a new outdoor studio space behind Hunt-Cavanagh with opportunities for additional similar spaces in the future. Two unique features built into the Arts Walk are a labyrinth and a sundial. The sundial is human-scale, interactive, and also serves as a gathering area. Its primary function is to tell time, but also allows students to study light and shadow, an integral element of art.


SMMA | Symmes Maini & McKee Associates
Architecture | Engineering | Interior Design | Planning ​

6/20/2014 – Beautiful horse chestnut tree in it’s first full bloom at the Arts Walk.
Horse Chestnut Tree near the Arts Walk

8/16/2013 – East campus near Hunt Cavanagh undergoes some fresh landscaping, repaved roads, and the construction of a working sundial.
East Campus Roads
East Campus Landscape
Sundial- August 14, 2013

Barbara Muriel

Senior Executive Assistant Finance and Business

John Sweeney

Senior Vice President Finance and Business