Landmarks, UT’s public art program, celebrates 10 years

Hannah Ortega

From a contorted clock knot to a circle of concrete columns, Landmarks has provided public art to the UT campus for 10 years and now boasts 41 pieces.

The program celebrated its 10th anniversary last week by giving out cake at different installations each day. Communications coordinator Emmy Laursen said many students are not aware of Landmarks, and last week’s event helped to promote the art.

“There are so many resources given to you while you’re here at UT, and Landmarks and the public art program is just a really small portion of if,” Laursen said. “It’s an opportunity for students to expand their intentions around gaining and educational experience while here at UT.”

Landmarks began with a permanent loan of 28 Metropolitan Museum of Art pieces in 2008 and is in charge of establishing and conserving UT’s art installations. Conservation is one of their most expensive responsibilities and requires fundraising, Laursen said. The cost of acquiring art is covered by one to two percent of the budget for UT’s capital improvement projects.

“UT has a commitment of seeing the arts grow alongside industrial buildings growing,” Laursen said. “The more economic development that we have alongside it, the art is growing as well.”

Despite the program’s 10 years on campus, special education sophomore Alexxa Newman said she did not even know about most of the art pieces.

“I didn’t know a lot of them existed until people started pointing them out,” Newman said. “It’s a cool thing to have … because I know not every school has it.”

For studio art freshman Chemareéa Biggs, however, the canoe sculpture on Speedway served as a point of contemplation.

“It made me realize that I should venture out and actually try thinking of sculpture as something more than a piece made from scratch,” Biggs said. “I’ve always stayed away from sculpture because I’m used to thinking of it as something to be made from bare materials. It’s ready made but together in a way that makes a new, original object.”

Laursen said because students pass by Landmarks pieces every day, the program is a resource that facilitates learning opportunities outside the classroom.

“You’re not entering a gallery or a museum and choosing to contemplate what a piece means,” Laursen said. “It’s a … gateway to experiencing art because it’s already there.”