Art for All
Art for All
A torch of rusted bronze that climbs from the ground outside Fairchild Theatre. An abstract collection of crumpled steel that leads the way to Beal Garden. Bright red flanks of steel dancing in the wind at the entrance to Biomedical and Physical Sciences. There are hundreds of amazing public art pieces on MSU’s sprawling campus. Over the next several pages, take a closer look at a handful of the human-made pieces that bring out the beauty on an already special campus.May 16, 2021
The sun shines on the stainless-steel structure, golds and silvers sparkling and fluttering. Almost as if it is aflame, “Victoria” illuminates the Breslin Student Events Center day in and day out. Since being installed in 2017, the piece, which is lit by 96 bulbs at night and sits near the southwest corner of Breslin, has been a gateway to 1855 Place—a marker on campus. Or, as Steve Troost, campus planner and Public Art on Campus Committee member, says, “It gives a sense of ‘there’ on campus.”
Since 1999, when the MSU Public Art on Campus program was initiated by Board of Trustees action, a percentage of the construction cost of every new major facility or renovation project has been earmarked toward an art component. That decree has resulted in over 145 works of public art sprinkled across campus.
Not only does art give a sense of “there” on campus—think “Meet me at Sparty”—the art is meant to create discussion. Per the program’s authorization by the board, “The creative work of sculptors, painters and graphic artists enriches a learning environment, stimulates lively discussion and evokes aesthetic appreciation.”
Public art is one of those amenities that enhances a community culturally and in turn helps attract a vibrant and diverse population. - Tom Berding, Dept. of Art, Art History and Design
That tenet remains important. From massive sculptures to abstract paintings, East Lansing is filled with stunning works of art meant to spark conversation. Walking around campus, students and visitors alike face pieces meant to provoke thought.
“Universities encourage growth,” Troost says, “and public art can impact any and everyone who walks through campus.”
Explore more art
Works of public art can be found in nearly all corners of MSU’s East Lansing campus.
There is more to public art at MSU than the structures featured in this piece. Head into a building on campus, and it is likely you will find a piece of art on a wall or a smaller sculpture in a hallway. With hundreds of works, there is plenty to see.
The seven works featured in this piece are shown on the above map, and hundreds of other pieces are also scattered across MSU’s 5,300 acres. For images, information and locations of all pieces, check out MSU’s Public Art on Campus site: go.msu.edu/explore-art
All photography by Aran Kessler.Author: Liam Boylan-Pett