Indiana State University Newsroom

Sustainability focus of newest Art Spaces sculpture, ‘Solar Sycamore'

October 19, 2015

There's more than meets the eye to Terre Haute's newest public art work.

"Solar Sycamore," a sculpture of a leaf on Indiana State University property at 11th and Chestnut streets, can harness energy from the sun to power homes, businesses and other buildings.

Art Spaces, Indiana State's Recycling Center and Watermark Collective came together to create the piece to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Recycling Center and the ongoing commitment to continue recycling at ISU..

Princeton Review has selected Indiana State University as one of the most environmentally responsible colleges in the U.S. and Canada for the past three straight years, noted Petra Nyendick, director of university's Community School of the Arts.

As a member of Watermark Artists' Collectvie, Nyendick helped conceive of the design of the project, raise funds for the project, and promote the dedication.

"The dedication truly embodied and demonstrated the spirit of community engagement that we strive for," said Stephanie Krull, landscape and grounds manager at Indiana State.

Krull was directly involved with the planning of the Solar Sycamore in regards to site related topics or decisions that included landscaping, site furnishing, and possible future developments.

Grounds maintenance crews planted more than 50 shrubs and grasses for the event and they will remain. Additional landscaping is planned for next spring.

"The site will be a native prairie type environment and also helps with parking lot drainage," Krull said.

A dry well will also be added behind the leaf, providing a retention system to help direct storm water runoff back into the ground instead of the street drain. The sidewalk at the site will be completed using a porous surface made from granite and recycled rubber rather than concrete or asphalt.

The surface uses a binder that hardens and leaves air spaces that help clean the water as it passes through, Krull said.

"The installation will add to Art Spaces' nationally recognized sculpture collection," Nyendick said.

Two more sculptures by Art Spaces that are planned to be completed by this December and there are several sculptures planned for during 2016.

"The Solar Sycamore truly adds a three dimensional symbol of the spirit of ISU, while also educating us all about solar power and low energy lighting," Krull said.

Photo: - Solar panels and a storm water retention system are among features that make "Solar Sycamore," the latest public artwork involving Indiana State University and Art Spaces, more than just a work of art. (ISU/Angeliique Bokamba)

Photo: - The sculpture "Solar Sycamore" was dedicated Oct. 9, 2015 on Indiana State University property in commemoration of the 25th anniversary of recycling at the university. (ISU/Tony Cambelll, Tracy Ford)

Writer: Libby Legett, media relations assistant, Office of Communications and Marketing, Indiana State University, 812-237-3773 or