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Facets of agriculture
From eNews, February 5, 2004
Several brightly colored images of cows, horses, grain silos, and humans tending to the land were recently installed in the University Teaching and Outreach Center on the Crookston campus. These images--drawings on ceramic tiles of various sizes--are part of a new public artwork that pays tribute to Minnesota's agricultural industry. The artwork, which frames the doorway into the indoor riding arena, was unveiled on January 31 during University of Minnesota, Crookston's (UMC) annual Ag-Arama Day. Nearly 300 faculty, staff, students, and members of the Crookston community were on hand to view the 3-D creation for the first time and laud the artist. Susan Warner, a Minneapolis mosaic and terra cotta tile artist, took two years to complete the project, which is made up of more than 210 individual tiles. "[My goal was] to depict the land, the people, and the way of life that defines the area as well as the unique educational aspects of a polytechnic university in this area," says Warner. She added that the project was challenging because of the research into the history of this region, "but satisfying because I've met extraordinary educators who informed and inspired my work." Warner was commissioned by a UMC campus public art committee for the project, which was funded by money set aside from the building's construction budget. The University Teaching and Outreach Center serves as the center for animal and equine science on campus and as home to more than 40 horses. The building also houses offices and classrooms, a riding arena, stables, and a tack room. "This art serves as a symbol of the foundation of agriculture, which is a defining industry for Crookston and the entire Red River Valley," says Andrew Svec, UMC's director of communications. "Since this building is tied in purpose to agriculture, the art committee wanted to reflect that in the artwork." This new addition to UMC joins several other public art pieces already on campus. In 1988, the University of Minnesota established the Public Art on Campus Program to oversee its sizeable collection of permanent public artworks on all its campuses, which are commissioned and purchased to enhance the physical and aesthetic environments at the University.