University Museums

Title: Procession
Name: Sculpture
Date: 2006
Medium: Sandblasted and sand carved glass panels.
Dimensions: 101 x 1152 in. (256.5 x 2926.1 cm)
Classification: Sculpture
Credit Line: An Iowa Art in State Buildings Project for LeBaron Auditorium. In the Art on Campus Collection, University Museums, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa.
Location: Iowa State University, LeBaron Hall, 142
Object Number: U2006.29a-v
More Information
Procession depicts Iowa State University’s historic heritage as well as its procession toward the future. Campus icons such as Christian Petersen, Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Hill, and Helen LeBaron Hilton are represented along side unnamed students. Mahady found inspiration for this Art in State Buildings commission in the works of art by Christian Petersen. She found strength and dignity in his work and tried to replicate similar emotion within Procession. Like many of Petersen’s murals, the figures are realistic yet simplistic and stylized. The use of glass is particularly important in this piece. Students busily walking through Lebaron Hall, as well as students passing the exterior of the building become part of Mahady’s “procession.”

Running along the bottom span of the mural is a quote by Mark Twain. It reads, “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” The quote reminds us of the unlimited possibilities that lie within each of us, especially as students working toward dreams of success. This sentiment is further represented by the last image of the mural, a child looking with amazement at a turtle. Again, influenced by Petersen, Mahady illustrated this figure in honor of his sculpture Marriage Ring.

Procession is a site-specific work of art that brings celebrates the past, present, and future of students, faculty, and alumni of Iowa State University. It seeks to represent where we came from and our current procession toward the future.

Michaela Mahady attended the University of Minnesota where she received a B.A. in Studio Art (1973) as well as a M.A. in Architecture (1986). Currently she is a registered architect in Minnesota and Colorado and holds a certificate of interior design. She has been a principle designer with Sala Architects, Inc. of Minneapolis, Minnesota since 1987 and her work has been featured in numerous magazines including Fine Homebuilding and Time magazine. She has also been featured on PBS for her work with residential architecture. Mahady has nearly 30 years of experience in creating artwork with glass. She and husband, John Pietras, own an architectural glass and mixed media gallery in Stillwater, Minnesota.