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UMPI to unveil new sculpture during Homecoming festivities

Wednesday, 08 September 2010

Officials with the University of Maine at Presque Isle will host a special unveiling ceremony during Homecoming 2010 festivities on Friday, Sept. 17 near Folsom Hall to celebrate a new outdoor sculpture on campus that has been installed as part of the State of Maine's Percent for Art program.

The unveiling of the stone sculpture To the Other Side – which was created by Arrowsic-based artist Andreas von Huene – will take place immediately after UMPI President Don Zillman delivers the State of the University Address, which is scheduled to begin at 3 p.m. in Wieden Auditorium.

The installation of the sculpture symbolizes the final step in the $2 million renovation project completed at Folsom Hall, the University's major classroom building, back in 2008.

In concert with that project, the University established a committee to ensure that a new work of art would be installed in or near the building, in keeping with the guidelines of the Maine Percent for Art law.

Enacted in 1979, the Maine Percent for Art law reserves one percent of the construction funds for all state-funded building projects for the acquisition of new works of art to be displayed in the public areas of these buildings. Recognizing the need to enhance culture and the arts and to encourage the development of artists, it was the intent of the Legislature to establish the Percent for Art Program to provide funds for and authorize the acquisition of artwork for the public spaces in public schools, community colleges, University of Maine facilities, and all state buildings. The Maine Arts Commission is the oversight organization for all Percent for Art projects.

UMPI's Percent for Art Committee – which included Anderson Giles, UMPI Art Professor serving as the Maine Arts Commission representative; Mark Carter, the Folsom Hall project architect; and Sandra Huck, UMPI's Reed Gallery Director, as the University's representative – began meeting in 2009.

The committee determined all the potential locations where the art could be installed, set a deadline for receiving submissions, and settled on the possible subject matter that could be reflected in the art. Because Folsom Hall is primarily a classroom building with 90 percent of the University population moving through or around the building, and because there are diverse spaces in the building, including multi-use classrooms, computer labs and a student lounge, themes of movement, community, diverse populations and the rural northern Maine setting were identified.

In November 2009, the committee reviewed all submissions and was favorably impressed with Andreas von Huene's work.

"The images that he presented of past sculptures were works we could envision living on UMPI's campus," Sandra Huck said. "From the wide range of submissions, his work most especially seemed as if it belonged on our campus because there is a sense of community within his work. A viewer will not see everything in this work with just one look."

Andreas von Huene is an artist and sculptor who has worked on a wide range of private and public art projects. He has a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Worcester Polytechnic Institute and an M.S. in Engineering (Product Design) from Stanford University. He has completed nearly 30 public art pieces that have been commissioned over the last 20 years. He is the recipient of the Worcester Polytechnic Institute's Ichabod Washburn Award and a Maine Arts Commission Individual Artist Fellowship.

Mr. von Huene came to campus in February 2010 to show the committee a maquette of his proposed piece. He also was able to see where the work would be placed and have a dialogue with people that live and work on campus in order to get a feel for the atmosphere on campus.

"I drew inspiration from this University's desire to attract a diverse student body and its practice of reaching out both locally and internationally," von Huene said. "To the Other Side was designed to recognize and respect diverse cultures and modes of thinking by showing each is viable, that they are not far apart – connected even – and are of the duality we find in human life. We also must respect nature. Good fortune saw to it that I put holes in my sculpture that allow this glorious long visual stretch of east-west lawn some passage. It has been a real pleasure working with and being of service to such a University community."

The sculpture, completed in August 2010, is made out of "Freshwater Pearl" granite from the Frankfort quarry in Frankfort, Maine, and measures 73 inches high by 43 inches wide. Its thickness is 5 inches at the bottom tapering to three-quarters of an inch thick at the top.

"The photographs have been exciting to receive, but I think they cannot give a true perspective of seeing the actual piece," Huck said. "We are looking forward to its unveiling on September 17."

The public is invited to attend the unveiling of To the Other Side. For more information, contact the Office of Community and Media Relations at 768-9452.