Two art pieces totaling $150,000 have been installed in the Computer Science and Technology Building.
One, a glass sculpture created by Minnesota-based artist Alexander Tylevich, was installed in March. The other, a hallway piece installed by Minnesota team Amy Baur and Bryan Boldon, was installed in mid-April. The installation of both pieces concludes a more than two-year process to make the space more inviting.
Mohammed Saadeh, department head of Industrial and Engineering Technology, was pleased with the outcome of the installations.
“We were so happy that these pieces came to signify this building,” Saadeh said. “So many people come to the university and request a tour of the building, and we have been gladly doing that for incoming students and visitors. So, the two artworks add to the beauty of this building.”
The selection process for the artists took from the winter of 2018 to the winter of 2019, with the pieces to be fabricated and installed for June 2020. However, due to COVID-19 restrictions, the undertaking was postponed another year.
Saadeh explained why the process to select appropriate artists is a time consuming one.
“Typically, adding art comes after the construction takes its full cycle,” Saadeh said. “You want this art to come when everything is settled down. You don’t want construction going on, and dust and the possibility of breaking something. You want all of the elements to be in there so artists can incorporate these elements within their work.”
The glass work was intentionally created to navigate the fans which hang in the building’s lobby. Its design, which is more modern than traditional, accomplishes its purpose well, according to Dale Newkirk, department head of Visual Art + Design.
“It works with the architecture and within the architecture,” Newkirk said. “As you walk in through the lobby, there’s that big fan. These artists had to deal with that. This artist accomplished this by this spiraling glass, which starts moving around that fan and goes up into these different elements as it cuts through the space. So, I think that’s very successful.”
The hallway piece is an artistic representation of the design processes that take place in the Computer Science and Technology Building. Bonnie Achee, instructor of computer science, appreciates its symbolism.
“It’s a wonderful marriage of the beauty of what we do represented in an artistic form,” Achee said. “I think sometimes as engineers and as technologists, we forget that there really is great beauty in the algorithms that we use to solve the problems, the tools that we use to solve the problems.”
Students are less excited about the project. Ben Baker, a junior engineering technology major, believes that the students who see it are more interested in computer science than art.
“It will make visitors a little more, wanting to come, but other than that I don’t think the students really care that much,” Baker said.