Having a heart: University hosts sculptures celebrating state's 150th

Having a heart: University hosts sculptures celebrating state's 150th

Jackson (left) and Patrick Keough maneuver Ian Liang's "Sand Cranes at Sunset" Nebraska by Heart sculpture into place on the north side of the Van Brunt Visitors Center. The university will host about 30 sculptures from the public art project.

A public art project celebrating Nebraska's sesquicentennial is coming to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

The Nebraska by Heart project, sponsored by Boys Hope Girls Hope and the Sadie Dog Fund, features 81 sponsored, 6-foot-tall fiberglass sculptures that are decorated by artists statewide and reflect imagery related to the Cornhusker State. The heart sculptures will be displayed across Lincoln, with about 30 on Nebraska's City Campus and East Campus.

"We are pleased to be a partner with the state and its 150th celebration by hosting part of the Nebraska by Heart artwork," Chancellor Ronnie Green said. "Having these sculptures on campus will serve as a reminder that the University of Nebraska-Lincoln is a land-grant university and that we have a 148-year tradition of being the people's university for every Nebraskan."

The first two sculptures were to be in place by March 1: "Oneness" by Nicki Nix, located by the Lied Center for Performing Arts; and "Sand Cranes at Sunset" by Ian Laing, near the Van Brunt Visitors Center. Other sculptures will be in place by early May, said Emily Casper, university landscape architect.

"We are still planning final locations for each of the remaining sculptures, but they will all be in areas that are highly visible to vehicular and pedestrian traffic," Casper said. "This is a great opportunity for the university to draw more visitors to campus and highlight areas like Maxwell Arboretum and our gardens."

"Oneness" by Nicki Nix is the first Nebraska by Heart sculpture on display on campus. A second sculpture, "Cranes at Sunset" by Ian Laing, is being installed March 1.

A committee that includes Casper; Jennifer Dam, director of campus planning and space management; Barry Shull, facilities director for the Office of the Vice Chancellor/Vice President; and Mike Zeleny, associate vice chancellor for research has worked to identify potential sites for the heart sculptures.

Along with the Lied Center and Visitors Center, prominent locations identified include the International Quilt Center and Museum, Hardin Hall, the Dairy Store and East Campus Mall.

The Nebraska by Heart project had an initial goal of creating 93 sculptures to represent every county across the state. To date, 81 of the possible 93 have been sponsored and will be in Lincoln.

The sculptures, on display through October, will be auctioned off and placed in permanent homes. Funds raised will benefit artists, Boys Hope Girls Hope and the Sadie Dog Fund. Boys Hope Girls Hope helps underprivileged, academically capable youth with reaching their full potential; the Sadie Dog Fund provides financial assistance to owners of sick or injured pets for unforeseen medical expenses, to help prevent premature euthanasia, a life of pain or being surrendered to an overburdened animal shelter.

Liz Shea-McCoy is directing the Nebraska by Heart project. She also organized Lincoln's bicycle and light bulb public art projects.