Manchester U has new outdoor statue

A sculpture of a white oak leave was recently erected in front of Cordier Auditorium on the Manchester University campus. Photo by David Fenker

By David Fenker

Visitors to Manchester University’s campus may notice a new sculpture on the university’s mall.

Thanks to a gift from a donor, a 12-foot-tall polished bronze oak leaf installed on a new patio in front of the university’s Cordier Auditorium starting Tuesday, June 27.

“The sculpture is a white oak leaf, designed specifically for Manchester because the oldest tree on our campus is a white oak,” Thelma Rohrer, dean of the MU College of Arts and Humanities, said.

Award-winning Florida-based sculptor Mark Krucke created the 12-foot-tall by 8-foot-wide curved oak leaf at his studio in Sarasota, Fla. and driven up to North Manchester early this week.

Rohrer said that the design process took two years, and included inviting Krucke up to North Manchester.

“The sculpture is very much a Manchester University piece, but it is also representative of the Town of North Manchester,” Rohrer said.

“We invited Mark [Krucke] up and took him to the coffee shop, the boat launch, downtown, explained about Tree City USA – all to help him see what the university and town are about. [The bronze leaf] is a public sculpture for campus, but it represents North Manchester, too.”

While similar to other works by Krucke – who Rohrer said is known for his nature-inspired, large-scale public sculptures – MU’s oak leaf is unique to the university.

“Working with Mark has been a dream. He’s incredibly creative – and mathematical – and has a terrific personality,” Rohrer said.

According to Rohrer, the leaf is the first of a series of public sculptures coming to the campus.

“We have plans for two additional sculptures in the next year and a half to two years,” she said.

“They will be of different designs, each one designed for its specific location.”

The sculptures are made possible by a gift from Patricia Schaffer, a supporter of the arts, believer in education and promoter of public sculpture, according to a university spokesperson.

“We are grateful to have a generous donor to support this project, and for what this opportunity brings to campus,” Rohrer said.

“We’re also grateful for our local landscape artist and grounds crew, who provide the artistic base and preparation for the sculpture’s site.”

According to the university’s Office of Strategic Communications, Schaffer is a lifelong resident of Indiana, and received a Sagamore of the Wabash award in 1995. She holds a bachelor’s degree in music from Northwestern University, a master’s in music from the University of Illinois and a master of arts in library science from the University of Michigan. She worked at the Muncie Public Library from 1959 to 1995, serving as director for nine years.

Schaffer served on the advisory council for the Ball State University College of Fine Arts, and on boards of the Ball State University Foundation, the Cardinal Fund and the Friends of Ball State University Art Museum.

Posted on 2017 Jul 11