New residence halls to feature sculpture by Texas artist

By: 

News Reporter

Falls and Sayers Halls will open in fall 2014 featuring an original sculpture created by Texas artist James Surls.

University officials met with Art + Artisans, an art consulting firm, to decide on a sculpture for the courtyard located outside of Falls Hall. The piece, entitled “The Contemplative Courtyard,” will be centered on the space located outside of the north tower, said Rosanne Proite, director of Housing and Residential Life.

A seating area will be placed around the piece where students can read a book or hang out with friends, Proite said.

“It will be a shaded area because of the way the buildings will be placed,” Proite said. “It will be a cooler area to be without the sun directly on you.”

The committee, comprised of officials from housing and residential life and art consultants, went through different processes before deciding what pieces of art would be placed in the new housing project, Proite said. Artists submitted examples, and the ultimate decision was based on many aspects that helped to bring the housing together, Proite said.

Upon entering the communal space of Gaillardia and Chautauqua halls, students are greeted with floating leaves, which are especially enjoyable, said Dane Bumgardner, Gaillardia resident.

“The sculptures that were placed in Gaillardia and Chautauqua were very unique and fit the new dorms well,” Bumgardner said. “(The sculptures) really set a mood for the dorm.”

The committee ultimately decided on a piece by Surls for the incoming courtyard, Proite said.

“I originally proposed a vase with flowers,” Surls said. “In a collective discussion, (the sculpture) went from a vase to a diamond.”

The sculpture will be 18 feet tall, Surls said.

“The diamond is good, because it is very intellectual,” Surls said.

Placing the vase toward the front of the building will allow both pedestrians walking by and drivers passing through to see the sculpture, Proite said.

Originally, the vase was going to be named ‘Vase with Seven-Eyed Flowers,’ Proite said. However, after going through many processes, the new pieces will be identified as ‘Diamond with Nine Flowers.’ The new piece will be a combination of many common themes Surls is known for in his previous work.

“The eye is something that is carried through on many of (Surls’) pieces,” Proite said. “He calls them ‘eyed-flowers’ and will have something like them in his (Texas State) sculpture.”

The sculpture will be made out of a bronze and stainless steel material, Proite said.

“(Surls) is very into a sort of organic form, so the flower is something he uses often,” Proite said.

The budget for this project was $40 million, 1 percent of the total construction budget, Proite said.

The search is still on for art to be put in the new housing projects that will begin construction in the fall, Proite said.

“I think it is good to have representation of a variety of artists, as we break grounds for our next residence project in September,” Proite said.