University Museums

Title: A Celebration of the Iowa Prairie
Name: Mural
Date: 2009
Medium: Burned wood, acrylic paint, and metal.
Dimensions: Left Panel: 64 x 169 1/2 x 13 1/2 in. (162.6 x 430.5 x 34.3 cm) Right Panel: 74 x 190 1/2 x 20 1/2 in. (188 x 483.9 x 52.1 cm) Bronze Sections: 78 1/2 x 9 3/4 x 8 1/2 in. (199.4 x 24.8 x 21.6 cm) Wood Sections: 60 x 30 x 3/4 in. (152.4 x 76.2 x 1.9 cm)
Classification: Sculpture
Credit Line: Commissioned by the University Museums. Iowa Art in State Buildings project, ISU Dining Center, Maple-Willow-Larch Residence Complex. In the Art on Campus Collection, University Museums, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa.
Location: Iowa State University, Maple Hall, Main Lobby
Object Number: U2009.181abc
More Information
To fulfill the vision of the dining hall committee for the Maple-Willow-Larch dormitory complex, “just as seasons change, students transition through their years at ISU”, Sticks’ artists led by Sarah Grant in collaboration with Factor II Fabrication of Des Moines, have created a welcoming space for student dining that celebrates the changing seasons.

The west entryway is an interpretation of Iowa plant life in summer, fall, winter, and spring. Steel, bronze, and painted metal interweave against a wall of Iowa limestone. Overhead the Plexiglas floating ceiling is reminiscent of clouds. Directly ahead in the dining area are eight wood 60 x 30 inch panels joined by intertwining steel branches of native Iowa trees. The mural visually explores the uniqueness of the Iowa landscape at the beginning of the twenty-first century in our backyards, along urban streets, in rural farmyards and fields, parks, wetlands, and prairies. These panels feature detailed wood-burned and painted drawings of native plants, trees, grasses, and flowers. Ada Hayden, the first woman to be awarded a PhD from Iowa State College, is honored in two panels for her many contributions to prairie preservation. Sketches and notes on several panels, wood-burned and in graphite represent student observations on field trips. On the alternate side the panels facing the diners portray a colorful landscape of the Iowa countryside throughout the seasons, each two panels featuring one season. Positioned at eye level, it gives viewers the sense of looking out a window at the changing landscape. A visually instructive and inviting tribute to the landscape of Iowa’s changing seasons awaits all who enter the Seasons Marketplace.

Written by Lucinda Scholten, University Museums Docent