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WMU outdoor sculpture tour touted in international guide

Aug. 21, 2009

Western Michigan University's celebrated outdoor sculpture collection is among a handful of Michigan art resources singled out in the latest edition of the London-based Birkbeck International Directory of Sculpture Parks & Gardens.

A foundation based at Birkbeck, University of London compiles the extensive listing of the world's great sculpture gardens. The listing includes the National Gallery of Art's Sculpture Garden in Washington, D.C., as well as sculpture gardens at the Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Rodin Museum in Paris.

Tour map, photos and more at the WMU Sculpture Tour page.

In Michigan, seven collections made the list:

The foundation of Birkbeck's International Directory of Sculpture Parks and Gardens was developed from the archive of Californian sculptor Benbow Bullock. He donated the contents of his original directory to Dr. Cameron Cartiere at Birkbeck to update and expand his legacy through her own research on sculpture parks and gardens.

The listing recognizes the quality of the sculpture initiative put together at WMU with support from the surrounding community, says James A. Hopfensperger, associate dean of WMU's College of Fine Arts.

"We are grateful for the generous support of campus and civic leaders who believe the arts are central to the fabric and ecology of the environment," Hopfensperger says. "Kalamazoo is truly a city where the health of the community is largely measured by the vitality of the arts programming."

The WMU Sculpture Tour is composed of contemporary art works on loan to WMU, typically for periods of two to three years. Over the past 17 years, the tour has featured the works of more than 100 notable artists and has become a point of pride on the University's main campus. The pieces represent varied conceptual and stylistic approaches to sculpture, often involving student and community participation in their creation. The tour has earned a reputation for innovation and quality and has placed WMU on the international map of sculpture destinations.

Information about the WMU Sculpture Tour, including a downloadable map, photos of the individual sculptures and the names of the artists who created the sculptures, can be found online.