Anyone who walks around the University of New Mexico has the opportunity to see UNM’s art collection in public spaces. It might be a glimpse of a sculpture as students rush to class. It might be a painting or drawing in a classroom building or in one of the libraries.
This semester students will see several new examples brought to the campus as a result of the Art in Public Places Act the state legislature passed in 1986.
Claudia Miller, a planner in the Planning Design and Construction Office, said the process for choosing the art is extensive and public. Committees made up of local and regional representatives work with New Mexico arts staff to select artwork for the University through a catalog developed by the Art in Public Places Program.
UNM’s Public Art Committee selects diverse works for every corner of the campus. Members of departments in buildings scheduled to receive art projects are included in the selection process. “Our diverse community with wide academic interests often flavor the sections for their department buildings,” said Miller.
In this selection period “Biology representatives tended towards nature and landscapes, and Engineering representatives tended to want more industrial type work,” she said. This spring students in Castetter Hall, the Collaborative Teaching and Learning Building II, Centennial Engineering, Centennial Library, Parish Library, the Fine Arts Building and Zimmerman Library will all see new art in their environments.
Students at the UNM branches in Valencia, Taos and Gallup and patients and staff in the Health Science Center will also see new works.
The program is commonly called “One Percent for Art” because the New Mexico Art in Public Places Act provides that “all agencies shall allocate…one percent or $200,000, whichever is less, of the amount of money appropriated for new construction or any major renovation exceeding $100,000 to be expended for the acquisition of…art.”
The art is always placed in public spaces for the enjoyment of people who use the building and Miller said the university is grateful to participate in the program and to receive these valuable cultural works.
Here’s a sampling of the art that UNM students will see in January.