December 1, 2020

Laumeier Park loans 6-foot-tall sculpture to Webster

Jene Highstein’s “Window 1/3” in front of the East Academic Building. PHOTO BY ALEX NASH

On a small patch of grass outside the East Academic Building (EAB) stands a 6 foot bronze figure. The figure stands tall and straight, a large keyhole shape  carved out on the upper half. It is a sculpture called “Window 1/3.” Laumeier Sculpture Park loaned the piece to Webster University for the next two years.

Jene Highstein created “Window 1/3” in 1989. It is one of 60 sculptures in Laumeier’s permanent collection. The piece’s description states that the sculpture is, “a totem carved in homage to an ancient civilization.” It also states that the keyhole window in the sculpture allows the eye to look through, around and over it, which creates different perceptions about environment and culture.

Oren Yagil, special assistant to President Beth Stroble, is the chairman of Webster’s newly created art council. He said that “Window 1/3” brings not only aesthetic value to campus, but it also enhances learning.

“This (sculpture) is very much in line with our value of creating an environment accessible with diverse cultures, as we have in our core value,” Yagil said. “We believe art can play a key role in (enhancing student learning). Hopefully we will see more art displayed and rotated around campus.”

The art council was established last September. One of the council’s goals was to bring more public art to campus. Yagil and Tom Lang, chair of the art department, contacted and visited Laumeier to start the loaning process. Two weeks later, on March 21st, “Window 1/3” was installed on the northwest corner of the EAB.

The loan cost is $500 per year, making it $1,000 for the two years Webster has it. After March 21, 2014, the university can decide to renew their loan if they choose. The total cost to have the sculpture on loan is $2,030 which includes the loan fee, sculpture checks, equipment fee, ordering of the new sign and labor and installation.

Laumeier does a semi-annual sculpture check in which they make sure the piece is in standard condition. Webster insures the sculpture for $70,000 if any damages were to happen.

Currently, Laumeier has three pieces on loan. Kara Pollnow, registrar at Laumeier, said the organization generally loans only to non-profit institutions. She said Laumeier thought Webster was a good advocate for art appreciation because of their art program and education goals.

“We really like to put something in the community to create an awareness of the appreciation of art,” Pallnow said. “It also helps to create an ongoing conversation about how sculpture makes its place (in the world).”

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