Transference, the new public sculpture located on the south side of the Environmental Research Building, is not just a pretty piece of art. The sculpture represents many things: a new push to engage students in public art, the underground geothermal link that connects campus to the City of Boise, and the successful collaboration between all three of those groups.
A dedication ceremony for the sculpture is slated for 2 p.m. Monday, Feb. 27. The public is invited to attend.
“This is the first public art collaboration between the City of Boise and Boise State,” explained art professor Richard Young, who helped spearhead the geothermal art project. “Public art has historically come onto campus via private donors, without a lot of faculty and student involvement. This is an important piece in that it is the first piece of art that came about through a partnership with the city, and had a lot of faculty and student collaboration.”
A Boise State committee began working with the city in 2013 to commission a public art piece. The groups agreed that the piece should honor the geothermal hot water that snakes through east Boise, downtown and the Boise State campus. A national call was put forth to artists, three finalists were selected by the committee, and scaled models from the three finalists were presented to students for their input. From there, Transference, a 15-foot-tall, 12-foot-wide sculpture created with steel and colored plexiglass by local duo Ken McCall and Leslie Dixon was commissioned.
“In terms of public art, one way to engage students is to let them know what’s on campus and where things are,” explained Fonda Portales, the university’s new art curator and collections manager. “It’s also important to choose pieces that can create spaces students can participate with, like Transference. They become part of that interior space of the art piece. I think that’s exciting and cool and one of the best aspects of public art – it makes you more aware of yourself, of your environment, and if the artwork is also technically and stylistically significant, suddenly you’re interacting with a whole new world.”