BSU unveils 'In Flight' fountain sculpture this fall
Students returning to Bemidji State University this fall may have been surprised to find a large, stainless steel fountain sculpture placed in the plaza between Sattgast Hall and the lower Hobson Memorial Union on campus.
The sculpture, named "In Flight," was created by Alexander Tylevich of St. Paul and was installed on campus in August. It marks the final stage of BSU's renovation of Sattgast Hall, which contains classrooms and offices for biology, chemistry, physics, environmental studies and geology courses.
An asymmetrical "spiral" surrounding a stainless steel mast more than 30 feet tall makes up the core of the sculpture. The spiral is supported by seven stainless steel cables inscribed with the names of the academic programs housed in Sattgast Hall - environmental studies, geology, biology, aquatic biology, chemistry, physics and nursing. The spiral artwork is treated with a number of casts and fabricated elements and has seven built-in color-changing LED lights.
BSU's wildflower butterfly garden located between the Hobson Memorial Student Union and Sattgast Hall is situated near the sculpture. Lining the butterfly garden's retaining wall are seven symbolic books made of dicroic glass panels of different colors, each representing one of the seven disciplines in Sattgast Hall and representing the butterflies that make their homes in the adjacent garden.
The water fountains flowing at the sculpture's base add to the overall shape and flow of the sculpture. The retaining wall around the fountain also provides a seating option on the plaza.
Tylevich is an award-winning sculptor and architect who operates Studio Tylevich with Poline Tylevich. He has designed projects ranging from free-standing site-specific sculptures to a master plan of a metropolitan city. He has also designed a number of public art installations in southern Minnesota and has installations in locations such as Chicago, Denver, Baton Rouge, La., Morgantown, W.V., and Blue Springs, Mo.
"The helical nature of the sculpture is something found in a lot of things biological," said Patrick Guilfoile, interim associate vice president for academic affairs and chair of the committee that selected the piece for the campus.
Guilfoile said the committee was attracted to previous work created by the sculptor because it included science-related pieces.
The sculpture was funded through the Minnesota Percent for Art in Public Places program, which acquires works of art to be exhibited in and around state buildings in areas regularly accessible to the general public. The program is administered by the Minnesota State Arts Board in cooperation with the Minnesota Department of Administration.
Percent for Art secures artwork by purchasing existing work or by commissioning artists to create new work especially for a state building or site.
Artwork is purchased with funds provided by Minnesota's 1984 "Percent for Art" legislation, which encourages state building projects with construction or renovation budgets of $500,000 or more to use up to 1 percent of the total construction budget to purchase or commission original artwork for the site. Sattgast Hall's renovations fit this requirement.
More than 130 art installations have been completed in the state of Minnesota using the Percent for Art program.