Two state-funded art projects in the works

Projects will join large collection of public art on campus.

Tara Bannow

Seven months after revealing the design for his artwork that will hang on the outside of Target Field , local artist and University of Minnesota alumnus Craig David is hard at work on a piece that will adorn the UniversityâÄôs West Bank campus. âÄúItâÄôs great to be doing a piece of art for my alma mater,âÄù he said. âÄúI feel extremely blessed.âÄù His is one of two works under construction that will be funded by a 25-year-old piece of legislation, the State of Minnesota Percent for Art in Public Places , which allows for up to 1 percent of the construction budget of a state-funded building to go toward art. Despite cuts in nearly every other realm of the University, the program has remained unaffected. DavidâÄôs piece, the Ribs of Humanity, is a set of six 15-foot-tall stone figures that will be placed around a stone fire in Hanson Hall âÄòs Campbell Garden in May 2010. The piece is costing the University $75,000, money that came from Hanson HallâÄôs construction budget. âÄúI think itâÄôs symbolic of the people in business,âÄù David said of the piece, which will be located near the Carlson School of Management . âÄúWe love creating things; we love making things and giving service to people âÄî and so the fire is about that inner drive.âÄù Across the river, a $350,000 piece of art will go into the Science Teaching and Student Services Center , formerly the Science Classroom Building , in July 2010 shortly before the building opens. Alexander Tylevich , the artist constructing the 80-foot-tall installation, said it will go inside the building and will span from the skylight at the top, down to the first floor. âÄúItâÄôs a lot of work ahead,âÄù Tylevich said of the piece, adding that right now, itâÄôs merely a pile of supplies. The piece, which costs less than 1 percent of the buildingâÄôs $72.5 million budget, will be made of light-reflecting glass and stainless steel cables in the shape of a giant spiral. Capital Planning and Project Management director Orlyn Miller said the University voluntarily participates in the program. Whenever they send a public building budget to the state Legislature, it automatically allocates 1 percent to art. A change in that policy is unlikely and would require agreement among the UniversityâÄôs vice presidents, the provost and the Board of Regents . âÄúAll of those are strongly supportive of the program,âÄù he said. âÄúItâÄôs not taken lightly that we reduce it.âÄù Since its conception in 1984, the program has funded 30 pieces of art on campus, including Platonic Figure in 2001, the large stainless steel and limestone statue outside of the Mechanical Engineering building and The Crucible in 1995, a cast bronze and stainless steel half-globe near Amundson Hall . In total, there are 40 pieces of public art on campus, some of which came long before the program. Over the years, the art thatâÄôs accumulated on campus has contributed to the experience students and visitors have here, Craig Amundsen , curator for the program, said. âÄúPublic art is put in places on campus that you come in contact with in your everyday circulation and use of the campus,âÄù he said. âÄúSo in that sense, public art really has a pretty big impact on people.âÄù Chief Financial Officer Richard Pfutzenreuter said the University is committed to continuing the program, and that the state bonding dollars used in construction canâÄôt be put toward a different use anyway. âÄúIt isnâÄôt the case that you could in all instances not do the public art and somehow pay for a scholarship or somehow pay for a faculty member or somehow meet another expense,âÄù he said. âÄúTheyâÄôre different forms of money, by and large.âÄù If the University chose not to use 1 percent of a buildingâÄôs budget on art, that money would still need to go toward construction of the building, he said. âÄúYou could choose to not do the art and buy more bricks and mortar in the building; thatâÄôs for sure,âÄù he said, âÄúbut you couldnâÄôt take it and spend it on something not project-related.âÄù Having originally gone to school to be a painter, David said itâÄôs too hard to sell art to individual clients knowing it wonâÄôt be seen by the public. He said he prefers creating public art because itâÄôs able to contribute to community building. âÄúIn my mind, everyone who views it owns it,âÄù he said. âÄúThatâÄôs wonderful. It really gives me a great feeling.âÄù