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Public Art enhances MSU campus

Friday, September 21, 2007

What do the stained glass windows of the Alumni Memorial Chapel, the portraits of past MSU presidents in the board room of the Hannah Administration Building, and a piece of Zambian pottery in the Kellogg Center State Room all have in common? They’re among the hundreds of creative works that grace the public spaces of the Michigan State University campus. A Web site—publicart.msu.edu—provides descriptions and photographs of more than 900 pieces of public art created by 350 artists that are housed in 85 departments and 60 buildings and outdoor locations at MSU.

The Public Art on Campus Committee (PAOC), which was established in 1999 by the MSU Board of Trustees “to advance the presence of public art on campus,” advises the provost and the vice president for finance and operations on the acquisition, placement, and maintenance of public art on campus.

“The PAOC ensures that publicly displayed art enhances both the aesthetic appeal of the campus environment and the community’s intellectual and cultural vitality,” says Jeffrey Kacos, committee cochair and director of Campus Planning and Administration.

“We try to make sure that the art in public spaces on campus reflects a diverse range of media and artists and also that it is of the highest possible quality,” he says.

Guidelines issued by the MSU Board of Trustees call for using one-half of one percent of the construction budget of new buildings for art, a goal the committee endorses.

Visitors to campus will notice several new pieces of outdoor art this fall:

• A bronze sculpture by New York artist Bill Barrett stands in the courtyard between the Human Ecology Building and the new Grand River Avenue parking ramp.

• An aluminum sculpture by Detroit artist Charles McGee now enhances the front of the Energy and Automotive Research Laboratory.

• A bronze sculpture by Mason, Michigan, artist Doug DeLind is a focal point at Intramural Sports-West.

• A mobile by New Hampshire artists Jonathan and Evelyn Clowes enlivens the atrium of the Center for Comparative Oncology’s new Animal Cancer Care Clinic.

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