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UMFK to unveil twelve-foot granite sculpture

June 11, 2004


The University of Maine at Fort Kent will officially unveil a newly erected sculpture entitled "Light Column" during a ceremony on the campus quad Monday, June 21 at 3:30 p.m.

The twelve-foot one-inch high, four-foot nine-inch wide, and two-foot five-inch deep piece of art features a dark gray granite for the stepped base, Finnish Granite for the pillared central section, and African Red Granite for the semi-circular top section. Along with the granite, the top section holds approximately 30 layers of half-inch plate glass which will reflect light onto the campus.

The money used to fund the sculpture comes from a percent of the cost to construct both Nadeau Hall and the new Acadian Archives Building. In the State of Maine, one percent of the total cost of construction of publicly funded buildings must be set aside for art purposes. There are no stipulations on exactly how the money must be used.

In order to allocate these funds in an appropriate manner consistent with the campus community and the state law, a committee was formed, which consisted of local artists, facilities management, administrators, and a liaison from the Maine Arts Commission. As a committee they decided upon a public sculpture to be placed in the area between Cyr Hall and Blake Library.

"We choose a sculpture because we wanted it to be an artwork that avails itself to everybody. The most public thing we could think of was an outdoor sculpture," said Scott Voisine, director of student services and chair of the committee. The only parameter that the committee set was that they wanted the sculpture to be "art for arts sake."

After reviewing thousands of works by artists on the Maine Arts Commission roster, three were invited to the University of Maine at Fort Kent campus.

Of those three "Christoph Spath was chosen because his work most exemplified what the committee was looking for in an artwork. We appreciated its mass, its relationship to the natural elements surrounding the campus, and its aesthetic appeal," added Voisine.

"The sculpture will create a gathering space and it will be the focal point located in the center of the University campus. The glass element in the top section of the sculpture will gather and reflect sunlight from various angles throughout the day. It symbolizes the gathering and distribution of mental energy, thought and communication, the central activity at the University," said Spath.

Spath was born in Stuttgart, Germany in 1957 and studied both architecture and stone sculpture in Aachen and Düsseldorf.

In 1981 he moved to the United States and now resides in Lambertville, New Jersey.

His sculptures are primarily carved in stone which he often combines with glass and light. His works are found in many public collections and have been exhibited throughout the United States and Europe.