Mesalands selects artists to create wind center sculpture

Special to QCS

Norman Andersen of Minneapolis, Minn., has been selected as the commissioned artist to create a unique large-scale sculpture, for the newly constructed North American Wind Research and Training Center at Mesalands Community College.

The project proposed by Anderson will be a wind-driven kinetic sculpture that will have visual, sound and aesthetic appeal, as well as movement to attract the attention of the community. This sculpture is part of the New Mexico Arts, a Division of the New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs that administers the Arts in Public Places program. This program focuses on enriching New Mexico’s public spaces through an innovative and diverse public art collection.

The Arts in Public Places program assists agencies in selecting artwork for their communities. This program has placed more than 2,500 works of art in all of New Mexico’s 33 counties, according to their

website. Agencies such as Mesalands with a capital budget exceeding $100,000, will use 1 percent of their budget for artwork. The college had a budget of $70,000 for their commissioned artwork. The $70,000 will include the cost of fabrication of the piece, installation, engineering, professional photographic documentation, building permits, insurance, and gross receipt tax.

Ben Owen, Art in Public Places Coordinator for New Mexico Arts, explains the significance of this program.

“Art in Public Places is important because it enhances the environment and makes spaces open to the public more accessible, enjoyable, and livable,” Owen said.

The selected sculpture by Andersen was chosen after a nationwide search. Andersen has previous experience creating sculptures that are either powered or controlled by wind. The Wind Center sculpture he proposed will have a visual and functional form. The sculpture will also have kinetic action with the rotation of the curved arms of the horizontal wind-wheels. The addition of sound is another unique aspect of this sculpture. Depending on wind speed and direction, the horizontal wind-wheels will play sounds of organ pipes. The sculpture will also have lighting for the community to enjoy at night.

The new sculpture will be installed in fall of 2012.