"Millennium Arch" Sculpture Commissioned

Article ID: 9504

Released: 22-Oct-1998 12:00 AM EDT

Source Newsroom: Missouri University of Science and Technology

Contact: Andrew Careaga Phone: 573-341-4328 acareaga@umr.edu

Notice: This story is embargoed from release until midnight CDT Thursday, Oct. 22, 1998.

EDWINA SANDYS COMMISSIONED TO CREATE "MILLENNIUM ARCH" SCULPTURE AT UMR

ROLLA, Mo. -- Artist Edwina Sandys (pronounced SANDS), the granddaughter of Winston Churchill who used sections of the Berlin Wall to create a sculpture at Westminster College in Fulton, Mo., will now have a second sculpture on a Missouri campus: the University of Missouri-Rolla.

This time Sandys, who lives in New York City, will create "Millennium Arch" at UMR, campus officials announced today (Thursday, Oct. 22). The 15-foot sculpture will stand on the grounds of Castleman Hall, the home of UMR's visual and performing arts programs, on a plaza to be designed especially for this project. The project also will involve the use of waterjet technology developed at UMR's High-Pressure Waterjet Laboratory.

"Millennium Arch is an excellent example of art and science converging to create a thing of beauty," said UMR Chancellor John T. Park, who announced plans for the sculpture during a news conference today on campus. "This work brings together Edwina Sandys' creative artistic talents and the creative technological talents of our engineers. UMR may not be known for its artistic endeavors, but this project promises to set a new standard for future artistic and scientific collaborations on our campus."

Sandys will use granite from Missouri Red Quarry near Ironton, in southeastern Missouri. UMR engineers will then use high-pressure waterjets to cut the granite at the UMR Rock Mechanics and Explosives Research Center. In the early 1980s, UMR's waterjet experts used their cutting technique to create another campus landmark, UMR Stonehenge, a half-scale replica of the ancient Stonehenge of England's Salisbury Plains.

Millennium Arch is to be funded through a gift from Scott T. Porter of Granada Hills, Calif., who received a bachelor of science degree from UMR (then known as the University of Missouri School of Mines and Metallurgy) in 1955. Porter is the son of the late Rev. G. Scott Porter, a former Presbyterian minister in Rolla, and the late Helen L. Porter of Rolla. Upon its completion next spring, the sculpture will be dedicated as a memorial to Porter's parents, as well as to his late wife, Barbara I. Porter.

Millennium Arch will consist of five integral pieces of Missouri granite:

-- The Millennium Arch itself, which will be 15 feet tall and made of two upright stones jointed across the top by a lintel.

-- Two symbolic figures of man and woman, cut out from the upright stones of the Millennium Arch, and polished and standing free of the rough-hewn blocks that had previously constrained them.

Castleman Hall was selected as the site for the sculpture and plaza because of its location on the edge of campus. Because the site is near residence halls, students will pass by the sculpture frequently. It also will serve as a gateway between the campus and the community.

"The site is ideal, because it is a natural bridge between the community and the university," Sandys said. "It is also at the site of the university's art center, which is a fitting location for the sculpture."

Millennium Arch also will serve as a prototype for Sandys' global art project, "Millennium Circle," a series of symbolic sculpted female figures linked together to form a circle and evoking images of Stonehenge. Sandys plans to build one circle on each continent to commemorate the third millennium. The project is in collaboration with the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM). A World Wide Web site about the Millennium Circle project may be viewed at http://www.unifem.undp.org/millen.htm.

Millennium Arch will be Sandys' third sculpture in Missouri. "Breakthrough," a sculpture commemorating the end of the Cold War, was installed in 1990 at Westminster College, where her grandfather, former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, delivered his famous "Iron Curtain" speech in 1946. The 32-foot-long sculpture was created from eight sections of the Berlin Wall, from which are cut symbolic figures of man and woman. Another Sandys project, "The Branches of Promise," a 15-foot-high glass sculpture at Monsanto Co. headquarters in St. Louis, was commissioned by Monsanto in 1988.

Sandys' other public artwork includes "Child," a 10-ton marble sculpture that stands in front of the United National International School in New York, and two related sculptures, "Family" and "Generations," located at the UN centers in Geneva and Vienna. The three sculptures were dedicated to the International Year of the Child in 1979.

Sandys will work with Dr. David Summers, Curators' Professor of mining engineering at UMR and a leading expert in waterjet technology, to create the sculpture. Summers also is director of the Rock Mechanics and Explosives Research Center and the High-Pressure Waterjet Laboratory at UMR.

Summers and his colleagues have used waterjets to make works of art before, creating the half-scale Stonehenge replica on the UMR campus in 1984. They also used their waterjet technology to carve an auditorium beneath the St. Louis Arch in 1991 for the National Park Service.

"It seems like a good match," Sandys said. "Dr. Summers and his research team can solve scientific problems and I can make something beautiful, and together we can have something more than either of us has envisaged. I'm looking forward to working with Dr. Summers."

Sandys also thanked Porter for supporting the project. "Scott Porter has really brought this whole thing together, and has made it all possible," she said.

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