Public art has become a popular and effective way of building a sense of community and giving public spaces meaningful identity. Like all art, the works inspire observers to think about their world differently. This transformative quality gives public art an important educational role throughout the University of Minnesota Twin Cities campus.
The Public Art on Campus Program was established in 1988. Since then there have been more than three-dozen public artworks installed on campus. The University's public art collection is highly visible, placed in areas where the pieces become a part of everyday life adding interest to parks, plazas, and indoor atriums. The collection presents works of twenty-five artists created on campus over the past twenty-five years that range dramatically in size, medium and style.
The public artworks presented in this show were funded under the State of Minnesota percent-for-art legislation. The works are contextual, referencing the educational and research activities as well as the geographical setting and history of the University. They are a reflection of their host state funded buildings.
Public art has the power to energize communities. The pieces presented here have been accomplished within a social process that involved the campus community in the selection of the artists and periodic review of each artist’s work as it unfolded. This active dialogue with the community distinguishes public art from other works of art in public places. Many of the artworks resulted from a close collaboration between the artists and the building architects. These evocative artworks have a memorable impact on the creative image of our campus.