Campus public art project nears completion

Artist races weather to finish before winter

The cube section of this sculpture was originally meant to go at the Portage Avenue entrance. Antoinette Dycksman

Once completed, the sculpture outside the Ellice Street doors of Lockhart Hall will add a new aesthetic dimension to the University of Winnipeg’s campus. The project, funded by a $150,000 grant from the Winnipeg Arts Council as part of the University of Winnipeg Gateway and Transit Project, is expected to be completed in a couple of weeks.

Artist David Perrett began on-site work at the end of August and hopes to finish before the full onset of winter.

“I am literally racing the weather at this point,” said Perrett.

The installation includes a seven-tonne tyndall stone sculpture and bus shelter partly made of stone reclaimed from renovations of Wesley Hall.

Perrett said the installation will liven the campus environment.

“A lot of the buildings have a very institutional ... serious feel,” he said. “I wanted to create a structure that was really organic.”

In spring, he will plant mosses and lichens on the bus shelter.

The stone cube that makes up the top half of the sculpture was originally intended for the Portage Avenue entrance. Nothing is slated to replace it yet, but Perrett said another installation is still planned for that spot.

Serena Keshavjee, art history professor at the U of W, said the installation will introduce a new rhythm to campus life.

“Everyday you go into the university ... and go to your classroom. It is really nice every now and then if something ... stops us from our day-to-day, banal existence and makes us think,” she said.

U of W art curator Jennifer Gibson said Perrett’s installation not only enhances the campus but also the surrounding community.

“[Public art] adds visual interest and connects to our community,” she said. “What we are trying to do with the university’s art collection is to make it accessible.”

The university plans to hold an official unveiling of the installation once completed.

Published in Volume 64, Number 11 of The Uniter (November 12, 2009)

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