Art alfresco exercises the eye
"It all looks the sameeverything has to be painted in earth tones, and fences can only be so high," Dennis says. "Its the most boring place youve ever seen."
Dennis, who has designed installations for the UI Museum of Art for 32 years, wants to ensure that The University of Iowa will never reach that level of visual monotony. He is one of six members of the Art on Campus committee, a group that meets whenever a new building is planned, along with representatives from that building, to help determine what art would be complementary, appropriate, and stimulating.
"The choices are controversial, and thats the way it should be," Dennis says. "Whether you like the art or dislike it, it should generate a little enthusiasm."
The artwork is purchased with funds from the Art in State Buildings program. Since 1978, by state law, one-half of one percent of the cost of any new or renovated state building is applied to the purchase of works of art. Some of the art is inside buildings, but numerous works are out-of-doors, visible to passersby.
Nancy Nelson is one art-appreciating UI employee. Whenever the weather and her schedule permit, Nelson, a secretary in the admissions office, walks along the river at noon for exercise and a few moments of serenity. Her route allows her to savor the sculpture by the Art Building, created by students as part of their MFA graduation requirement, as well as the work of professional artists.
"I really enjoy the art," Nelson says. "I like to think about where the ideas for the pieces came from."
Nelson may not have to wonder for long. In the works is a brochure including a description of each piece of permanent art and its location.
Until then, rest assured that visual monotony on campus has been held at bay. Let the art take you by surprise.
by Linzee Kull McCray