Indiana State University Newsroom

New sculpture to go up at ISU Foundation; Public contest planned to name it

July 20, 2011

A new sculpture will soon take shape in downtown Terre Haute and the public will have the opportunity to name it.

The artwork will serve as the focal point of an outdoor plaza in front of the Indiana State University Foundation/Barnes & Noble College Bookstore building at Fifth and Cherry streets. Artist Tim Upham of Fort Collins, Colo., has incorporated an iconic university symbol into the design of the sculpture, to be constructed of stainless steel, white painted metal and thousands of cobalt blue glass marbles.

"Approaching the plaza from any direction will reveal a visual representation of a wave as it releases a dynamic flow of energy toward the building's main entrance," Upham said. "It is only when the visitor is under the blue and white canopy that a sense of discovery will occur as you realize that the wave is also a cobalt blue sycamore leaf. "

In conjunction with the selection of Upham's design, the ISU Foundation and Wabash Valley Art Spaces announced a public contest to name the sculpture.

"We want to engage the entire community - not just students, faculty, staff and alumni. We want others to share in the process so we want to have a community wide contest," Crume said.

The winner will receive an ISU Homecoming VIP package that includes four passes to all official ISU Homecoming events, four ISU Football tickets in the President's Box, four tickets to the Varsity Club room, VIP Blue and White Parade seating, and Sycamore fan apparel.

The contest is open to all Wabash Valley residents as well as ISU students, faculty, staff and alumni. The winner will announced Sept. 30. All entries should be submitted online at by clicking on the "Sculpture Naming Contest" link and completing the "comments" field.

The ISU Foundation partnered with Art Spaces in conducting a nationwide search for artists to design the sculpture and selected Upham's design from more than 120 submissions.

"We wanted a piece of art that, through the artist's interpretation, tied in to one of the iconic symbols of the institution and we wanted a sculpture that stood by itself as art," said Gene Crume, foundation president. "We found in Tim an amazing artist who has a tremendous vision, a real understanding and commitment to a sense of place for artwork and is recognized as an incredible artist. I think people will be excited about when they see it."

Mary Kramer, executive director of Art Spaces, called Upham's design "dynamic and intriguing at close range as well as from a distance, and one that we believe will have special meaning for the university community and strong appeal for residents and visitors."

Upham is a site specific artist who specializes in creating large-scale sculptures that are designed solely for a particular location. He often has to come up with a design after seeing only photos of a location. He is pleased the foundation and Art Spaces brought him and other artists to Terre Haute and the ISU campus to both see the location firsthand and hear foundation President Gene Crume describe the goal of using the plaza as an outdoor gathering place.

"Meeting Gene and hearing those plans was extremely helpful," Upham said. "When Gene said he would like to host social events on the plaza that really struck me. I like that. So then the idea was to create an enclave that complements the architecture of the building."

The 12-foot tall by 20-foot long sculpture will curve out over the plaza toward the foundation's main entrance. Incorporation of the sycamore continues a pattern in which the foundation building, which opened earlier this year, incorporates subtle university symbols in its architecture. The sculpture is expected to be completed this fall.

Upham has more than 15 years' experience as an artist and has specific sculptures in several Colorado communities as well as Memphis and at the Booker Creek Preserve Environmental Education Center near Tarpon Springs, Fla.
He works in collaboration with his brother, Rick, owner and operator of Flash Welding in Fort Collins, to fabricate the pieces needed for each project.

Upham's sculpture marks the 12th outdoor art project for Art Spaces. Each project involves collaboration with one or more area institutions.

"We are delighted to have this opportunity to work with the ISU Foundation and Vermillion Development Corp. to add a significant work of art to this location and are grateful to the generous donors that made it possible," Kramer said.

Other Art Spaces sculptures may be seen along the Terre Haute Arts Corridor, on the ISU and Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology campuses, at Memorial Stadium and in Gilbert Park. Information about Art Spaces is online at, on Art Spaces' Facebook page, or by calling 812-235-2801.

Photo: - Here is how artist Tim Upham's sculpture will look outside the Indiana State University Foundation office at Fifth and Chestnut streets in downtown Terre Haute. The stainless steel and glass sculpture will incorporate a sycamore leaf made of thousands of cobalt blue flat glass marbles.

Media contact: Kim Bloch, assistant director of communications, Indiana State University Foundation, 812-514-8486 or

Writer: Dave Taylor, media relations director, Office of Communications and Marketing, Indiana State University, 812-237-3743 or



Story Highlights

A new sculpture will serve as the focal point of an outdoor plaza outside the ISU Foundation office at Fifth and Cherry streets. Artist Tim Upham has incorporated an iconic university symbol into the sculpture's design.

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