Time to Get Personal!

I am in a class called Marketing, Promoting and Politicking Public Art. Each class we learn about public art monuments and sculptures that are all over the United States. We have spent much of our time learning about works ranging from the Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial to local Iowa City works to the city of Seattle and all it has to offer in the public art realm. This class inspired me to begin this blog and also motivated me to take on a public art project of my own.

Remember the BenchMarks project I have posted about previously that is happening right now downtown Iowa City? Well, for my Fall semester final project in my Public Art class I chose to submit a design and apply to paint a bench through the Downtown District of Iowa City.

A friend in the class and I have been working towards executing our collaborative project. Together we came up with a pattern using color blocking and color gradient (not to mention color blocking is a big hit with fashion trends this year!). It is mathematically divided up into equal parts to produce squares that vary from light to dark and range from shades of peach to blue and back to a deep orange. Here is our sketch that we submitted to the city district.

Front of the bench design proposal

Back of the bench design proposal

Currently we are waiting to hear back on whether or not we can proceed with our collaboration. The next step would be to get in touch with the representative who approves our design and receive grant money to buy supplies from the local Blick art store. Then the bench painting must be completed within 5 days of your start date.

I am looking forward to hearing the results and feedback about our design. What do you all think?

Posted in BenchMarks | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

UI missed opportunity to buy Gene Davis painting for Dental Science Building

The Gene Davis prospect piece for the University of Iowa’s Dental Science Building was sold last Saturday. The University missed the chance to purchase the untitled, magna on canvas 98 x 91.75 inch artwork. The piece was sold to another buyer while the committee took too long to make a decision to purchase the painting. 

According to Pamela White, Project Director for National Endowment for the Humanities grants and an Adjunct faculty member in the UI College of Liberal Arts, there will be an alternative work by Davis that will be proposed to the committee. The work is titled “Red Dog” and is also a magna on canvas painting. It’s dimensions are 92 by 95.75 inches.  White has been working to get two or more pieces for the new lobby space.

The Sam Gilliam work titled “May iii” is an acrylic on canvas painting that will also be presented to the dean of the Dental School and the committee of people who live and work in the building. The University of Iowa Museum of Art hopes to purchase both of these works. This 54 by 110 inch painting will hopefully be well received at the presentation meeting and will hang alongside the Davis in the new lobby by this December if all goes accordingly.


Posted in Iowa Campus | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Debate continues for artworks to be placed in new addition of Iowa Dental Building

The University of Iowa Dental Science Building will receive two artworks for their new public lobby space. The addition was built about one year ago to better accommodate the traffic between patients and doctors and to provide a more comfortable waiting area. The budget for this project is $300,000. Pamela White has worked with the University of Iowa for over 20 years. Since 1992 she has worked as the University of Iowa Museum of Art as Curator of painting and sculpture. She has been a Project Director for National Endowment for the Humanities grants and an adjunct faculty member for the UI College of Liberal Arts. 

                                Click here to see an audio slideshow about the project.

My name is Pamela White and I have a law degree and a doctorate and I’ve been affiliated with the university for over 20 years.  I mostly was on staff working as a curator, where I would research the artists help through their contacts follow through with how the art was installed and really my role hasn’t changed a lot.

For this particular project, this addition, the budget’s around 300,000 dollars.

We are in the Dental Science Building, we’re in the new edition, it’s just been open about a year. The original building dates from the early 70s and so it’s a kind of architectural style that we call Brute architecture and that was very much in fashion in the late 60s and 70s.

Well what we’re in is really the new public lobby for the facility. It’s a two-story space of a concrete wall and then there is a plaster wall that were looking at for the other one, so it would be in the entryway.

In keeping with the desire now of the art on campus committee to have art that could be removed from the buildings if necessary and moved into the museums collection, I started researching what were some artists of this period. And very quickly the director had a contact and found that there was a wonderful 1970s Sam Gilliam painting available on the secondary market through a dealer.

We liked this painting because it was the same period as the building and I found a wonderful painting by Gene Davis and researched the artist, brought several images forward for the committee and director to choose, and the user committee, the dean and various people that live in this building really liked the Sam Gillian and Gene Davis.

They are very large paintings. One’s very vertical and it’s all colored strips and the other one looks tie-dyed almost.

We need to affix the paintings to the concrete but were also worried because of the skylights about the UV rays so we have to breed on that. Especially with the Sam Gilliam, we are worried a little bit about fading.

I have found a product called Optium that removes 97% of the UV rays and so we can actually build a little box for the Sam Gilliam painting.

The goal is that we try to get this done by the middle of December.

Posted in Iowa Campus | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Discover Hidden Gems By Taking A Walking Tour Of Art on Campus

Stepping Out, Elizabeth Catlett, 2000

It would be nice if there was an app for everything.  It would be really nice if there was an app to guide you on a tour of The University of Iowa’s art on campus. I’d bet big bucks that most of this University’s students have never seen or noticed many of the great artworks commissioned just for our campus and they are pretty remarkable and hold a lot of history.  Today I re-discovered five works that I walk by on a daily basis. My tour started in the Iowa Memorial Union and ended at the Lindquist Center and I did not even cover half of the awesome art on campus. Next time you have a bit of free space in your day, take a stroll and discover these inspiring works and more.


  • Start on the main floor of the IMU. There you will find the bronze sculpture by Catlett along with descriptions of the work. All of the art on campus that is located inside is labeled which is a nice plus.
  • Next head out of the IMU to Madison St. and take a left. Walk behind the IMU and the Advanced Technology Laboratories and you will see the aluminum work by LeWitt.
  • Head back to Madison and up the hill to the Pomerantz Building to find the carver boulder by Randall-Page.
  • Walk across the Pentacrest to the Lindquist Center where the cor-ten steel sculpture by Nevelson is located.
  • Finally, head down the path across the street to the Adler Journalism Building and you will see the metallic cylinder by Sanborn, which looks especially amazing in the dark!

Voyage, Louise Nevelson, 1978

Iacto, James Sandborn, 2004

2-3-1-1, Sol LeWitt, 1994

Ridge and Furrow, Peter Randall-Page, 2011

Posted in Iowa Campus | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Elizabeth Wallace discovers local artists to feature at UIMA ‘First Fridays’ event series

Elizabeth Wallace is the PR Coordinator for the University of Iowa Museum of Art (UIMA). She specializes in any and all external relations including event coordination, interviews, the UIMA magazine and anything that involves the public face of the museum.  She was raised in Iowa City, IA.

‘First Fridays’ is a series of social events scheduled to take place the first Friday of every month at the Hotel Vetro in the pedmall. The events take place from 5-7 p.m. and feature artists of all mediums as well as hors d’oeuvres from Formosa and the Bread Garden Market. ‘First Fridays’ are sponsored by Susie and Tom Bender, Susan and Sandy Boyd and H. Dee & Myrene Hoover.

The UIMA was established in 1969 and has one of the most impressive university art collections in the nation. The museum continues to expand and practice creative outreach to bring the experience of art to the people of the community as well as others who are invested and in the arts.

Posted in Iowa City | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Exciting things happen when you wander downtown IC

A day in the life of a journalism student isn’t always easy. You wake up early, you get blown off and then you have a lot of time to spare. So, as I wandered aimlessly from Dubuque and Clinton St. towards the pedmall I stumbled upon a crowd of people decked out in red, white and blue.

The crowd was roaring, howling and clapping.  Students, adults and seniors gathered to show how important the right to vote is. News stations were filming and interviewing individuals who had come out to support early voting and more importantly to this crowd, voting for Obama.

You might wonder what this has to do with public art. What I can tell you is that even when your whole morning has gone astray a simple mishap can lead you into a fortune.

It turns out while my audio interview about the BenchMarks project is going to be on hold for a while, I discovered a few new ideas about IC art adventures I can share with you all. These ideas stemmed from my curiosity about the Obama voting rally.

By following this crowd on their march to the Iowa City Public Library I discovered a garden outside of the library that is done in part by the New Pioneer Food Co-Op, simply by the fresh scent of basil wafting to my nose through the breeze. A voter waiting in line also suggested that I check out the University of Iowa Museum of Art and their First Friday events that feature new artists and exhibits each month.

I even got to vote early AND for my first time!

It is times like these that life works in mysterious ways. I hope you all open your eyes this weekend and discover new art as well as watch the leaves start to change.

Posted in Inspiration | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

Demolition of Wells Fargo Bank Reveals Mural

A portion of the Black Hawk mural that was painted in 1976.

The recent tear-down of an old bank building downtown Iowa City uncovered a mural buried years ago. Three American bison are what remain of what was a larger mural painted in the 1970s by Iowa art students.

For more than 30 years the mural has been covered by the walls of a Wells Fargo bank building. Construction workers uncovered the piece of history during demolition of the building.

The American Bison remained hidden and well preserved for 36 years.

According to the Iowa City Press-Citizen, during the 1970s a project was executed by Donna Friedman and several of her UI environmental design students to beautify the city which was in the midst of a massive urban renewal project. The project was design to bring color and life to a downtown area that was all torn up.

Currently, the plans are for a new 14-story building to replace the bank building, which will ultimately cover up the buffalo mural again. While it would be interesting to preserve it in some way, it is unlikely that will be possible.

It is also interesting to note that at the time this mural was rediscovered, the “Solidarity” mural was just being unveiled. Is it fate or just a strange coincidence?

Posted in Murals | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments