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Spotlight: Sculpture Collection a Public Treasure

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Spotlight: Sculpture Collection a Public Treasure

Date Published:
Friday, June 10, 2011

UNC Charlotte recently dedicated the latest addition to its impressive collection of campus artwork, the “Spirit of Discovery.” The abstract sculpture, created by artists Hanna Jubran and Jodi Hollnagle-Jubran, hangs suspended above the lobby of the Bioinformatics building, on the Charlotte Research Institute section of campus.

The sculpture is one of more than two dozen works of art, a majority of which are outdoors, that can be found throughout the UNC Charlotte campus. In fact, UNC Charlotte’s unique collection of sculpture is one of the defining characteristics of the campus.

The latest piece is among 22 commissioned or donated by the Hon. Irwin “Ike” Belk, a steadfast supporter of UNC Charlotte and higher education. “Spirit of Discovery” suggests the complex internal and external structures of a living cell, as well as the tools for investigating life processes.

UNC Charlotte also enjoys the national distinction as the institution with the most extensive athletic statuary collection. Several striking bronze statues line Cameron Boulevard — they are part of a series of 14 bronze statues created by Richard Hallier that represent every inter-collegiate sport. On the horizon, two larger-than-life sculptures will grace the University’s new football stadium complex, one outside of each of the main stadium entrances.

Visit the quadrangle behind Woodward — the building named after Chancellor Emeritus James Woodward — and take note of the “Wings of Pride” sculpture. The piece by Kent Ullberg stands 20 feet tall and honors Dr. Woodward’s service at the United States Air Force Academy.

Pass Robinson Hall, the performing arts building, to view “Water Harp,” the beautiful steel water and light sculpture. “Water Harp” by Housi Knecht is part of a collection of water and light pieces. The steel sculpture stands 8 ft. tall, 5 ft. wide, weighs more than 300 pounds and has a circulating water tank. Water flows over the strings of the harp, creating the illusion that it is playing.

Visitors exiting campus by way of North Tryon Street will appreciate the magnificence of “Orbis,” another Housi Knecht creation. The steel and water sculpture is located on the lawn between Grigg and Duke Centennial on the Charlotte Research Institute campus.

Additional outdoor pieces on campus include: Victory Sculpture, by Claudio Capotondi, located in the Belk Track and Field Center; Adam Smith’s Spinning Top, by Jim Sanborn, located adjacent to the Friday building; Self-Made Man, by Bobbie Carlyle, located in front of Cato; The Golfer, by Richard Hallier, located on the lawn of Bissell House; Dinosaurs, by Jim Gary, located in the Botanical Gardens; Gold Miner Statue, by Lorenzo Ghiglieri, located in front of the Reese and Colvard buildings; 7th Sun Mosaic, by Margery Breisch, located in the Susie Harwood Garden; 6th Zen Rock Sculpture, by Bridget Blackwelder, located in the Susie Harwood Garden; and KanTurk, by Robert Costello, located behind Robinson Hall.

This fall, the University will install “Ascend,” a sculpture by Jon Hair, to be located on the east side of the Student Union. Male and female bronze figures will ascend a six-ton granite spiral as they strive to attain their goal of reaching the top.

Public artwork at UNC Charlotte enrich the cultural, intellectual and creative life on campus, and are available for the community to enjoy. Click here to learn more about campus resources and cultural opportunities.

Photo by Wade Bruton.