Bulls on parade: third bronze sculpture hits St. Paul mall

Branden Peterson

Early last spring, two 14-foot bronze bull sculptures were placed on the St. Paul campus mall, a short walk down the front steps of Haecker Hall.

Observers might have believed the herd was complete. But Thursday, one more car-sized creature was added to the group of statues.

Three months behind its scheduled arrival, the final bull experienced several unexpected shipping delays – tracing all the way to Thailand.

The bulls, weighing 1,300-1,600 pounds each, will now rest peacefully on the grassy St. Paul campus mall. Organized by Public Art on Campus, the bulls are one of more than 40 art pieces now gracing the University.

In 1983, Minnesota legislators designated 1 percent of state-funded projects’ construction costs as optional public artwork funds.

Public Art on Campus began introducing projects five years later and has been visually enhancing University grounds with art ever since.

The University selected internationally renowned animal sculptor Peter Woytuk three years ago to create the bulls. Woytuk is considered one of the Western world’s greatest animal sculptors.

Cast in bronze, the process of making animal sculptures is methodical and careful. Starting from a miniaturized foam and plastic model, the models are projected to full size and transferred to Thailand for the final steps.

Woytuk’s assistant, Mark Amdahl, said he has seen gallery prices for the individual bull sculptures reach $110,000. The University spent approximately $86,000 for all three.

Amdahl said the St. Paul campus is the perfect location for the large sculptures.

“It’s a beautiful setting. One of the great qualities of the bulls is they’re large but not menacing,” he said. “It’s something that’s very approachable.”

Shelly Willis, Public Art on Campus coordinator, said it is great to finally see the bulls installed on the mall.

“(Woytuk) really wanted to do something special for this place,” she said. “This is really a gift because his work has such a higher value. I think it’s a beautiful piece.”

Branden Peterson covers the St. Paul campus and welcomes comments at [email protected]