Wednesday, July 26, 2006

WWU Outdoor Sculpture Collection Among 'Big Ten'


WWU Outdoor Sculpture Collection Among ‘Big Ten’



Sarah Clark-Langager, (360) 650-3963



BELLINGHAM – Western Washington University’s acclaimed Outdoor Sculpture Collection has been named one of the 10 best on-campus public art collections in the country.

For its spring/summer issue, the Public Art Review magazine asked members of the public art community to select the “Big Ten” of campus collections. Seattle architect Mark Spitzer declared Western’s a “world class sculpture collection.”

“A pleasure to be around,” he wrote.

The other campuses named are Texas Tech University; Pratt Institute in New York; Massachusetts Institute of Technology; University of South Florida; University of California, San Diego; Arizona State University; Wichita State University, University of Minnesota and Johnson County Community College in Kansas.

“This listing affirms Western’s longstanding reputation as one of the premier sculpture collections at campuses throughout the country,” said WWU President Karen W. Morse. “Public art has always been a high priority here, with the understanding that art shapes not only our campus community, but the broader community as well.”

Also in the latest issue of the Minnesota-based Public Art Review, critic Robb Mitchell reviewed collection curator and Western Gallery Director Sarah Clark-Langager’s 2002 book, “Sculpture in Place: A Campus as Site.”

Clark-Langager’s book explains Western’s philosophy of integrating sculpture with campus architecture and scenery, Mitchell noted, “focusing on site as place, not in an historic or institutional sense, but through the eyes of artists creating works that transform, frame and commend the campus setting for the student-participant viewer of art.”

Western acquired its first piece in 1959. Since the late sixties, the university has carefully selected sculptors who are asked to choose a place on campus to create their art.

“We have an important history – a 47-year focus on forming a cohesive collection rather than a random group of public works,” Clark-Langager said. “When we talk about Western’s niche, this is the reason why we are famous: a highly selective collection of established artists who have created exciting works that pull the campus together and make this place something beyond academic architecture, brick squares and green grass.”

Western acquired many of the works through public-private partnerships. Six sculptures were funded by the WWU Art Allowance, five were funded by National Endowment for the Arts grants with matches from public and private sources, 10 were gifts, and four were funded by the state’s Percent for Art program.

For more about Western’s Outdoor Sculpture Collection, contact Sarah Clark-Langager at (360) 650-3963 or

“Sculpture in Place” is available at bookstores nationwide, including the Western Associated Students Bookstore (360) 650-3655.




Heide Fernandez-Llamazares

Assistant Museum Educator and Docent Coordinator



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Tacoma, Washington 98402

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