KOKOMO, Ind. — For the last two years, Indiana University Kokomo’s outdoor sculptures served as campus icons.
Students studied in their shade, took selfies with them, searched for them in scavenger hunts, and used them as places to meet friends.
This month, they have new places to meet, and new backgrounds for their Instagram pictures, as all seven have been replaced.
“There’s a whole new look on campus,” said Gregory Steel, associate professor of fine arts, who, along with Minda Douglas, chair of new media, art, and technology, selected the seven new additions. “The new pieces show an interesting diversity of work across all of the sculptures. They’re all distinctly different, and each has a distinct character.”
He noted that when Chancellor Susan Sciame-Giesecke charged them with choosing the first sculptures in 2016, the idea was to lease and exhibit the works for two years, then replace them.
Julie Kendall, administrative secretary for humanities and social sciences, said they realized the impact the sculptures had when it was time to remove them.
“The collection became something more than we expected,” she said. “We found as we began replacing the previous sculpture that there was a sentimental attachment to some of them. We’re looking forward to seeing the students’ reactions to the new sculptures, and watching them become our new campus icons.”
Steel is excited about the new artworks, because they are made from diverse materials, including wood, cast bronze, glass, metal, and fabricated aluminum. One, titled Long Way Home, was one of his choices for the first round, but was unavailable in 2016. It replaces Green Piece, another work by the same artist, Nathan Pierce.
The collection also includes Tomgoe Gozen, a steel sculpture Steel created.
As a long-time faculty member, he feels honored to have work selected.
“This is like my home,” Steel said. “This is not just a place I work. There’s a great deal of my time, my personal emotion, and myself invested here. I’m pleased I can put one of my own sculptures here on campus.”
He hopes it will inspire students to consider public, outdoor sculptures as a medium.
Being an art faculty member, I encourage my students to think about themselves doing these kinds of things,” he said. “When I was a student, the work my professors were doing indicated to me an activity and a sense of the seriousness of the work. They weren’t just in the classroom, they were sending work out, having shows, and submitting for exhibitions. I think it’s an important thing to demonstrate.”
The artwork is installed in the campus quad, on the east side of the Kelley Student Center, near Havens Auditorium, outside the Library, and east of Hunt Hall. Each one will have a plaque identifying it.
The sculptures, which range from 7 to 15 feet tall, include:
Uprising, steel and high fire salt, Sandy Friedman, Colorado Springs, Colorado
Tomoe Gozen, steel, Gregory Steel, Kokomo
Kinnegoe Bay Cross, bronze and fused glass, Judith Greavu, Bluffton, Ohio
Jeffrey, welded aluminum, Douglas Gruizenga, Interlochen, Michigan
In Motion, steel and wood, Jeffery Kiefer, Hickory, North Carolina
Long Way Home, epoxy coated steel, Nathan Pierce, Cape Girardeau, Missouri
Moment, steel, Jeffery Kiefer, Hickory, North Carolina
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