Outdoor Sculpture Collection

About the Sculpture Collection

Extending from the Western Gallery's plaza and integrated with other campus buildings, quadrangles, lawns, and playing fields is Western's Outdoor Sculpture Collection. As early as 1957, prior to the Art in Public Places Program of the National Endowment for the Arts and even before the percent for art programs of Seattle and Washington State, the Board of Trustees at Western decided to include, whenever possible, the acquisition of works of art in the budgets of any new construction.

The first large scale sculpture installed in 1960 for the university was Rain Forest (1959) by the major northwest artist James Fitzgerald. From 1967-69, concurrent with the first nationally funded installations of Calder's stabile in Grand Rapids and Noguchi's Black Sun in Seattle, Western boldly commissioned the internationally recognized Isamu Noguchi to erect his Skyviewing Sculpture in Red Square. Early on, the Art Acquisition Committee (now called the Outdoor Sculpture Advisory Board) realized it had the unique opportunity to unite exterior art in the form of sculpture with Western's well-known architecture and natural environment.

Today, Western is nationally known for its leadership in the concept of art in the daily, living environment of an university community. Through the sculpture collection the university has set standards for quality education as well as fostered an atmosphere of risk-taking and discovery. The sculpture collection features major international, national and regional artists who address such issues as the relationship of nature and culture, human scale, types of narration, personal perceptions and spatial dynamics. Whether temporary installations or permanent objects, figurative or abstract in appearance, these works represent sculpture from 1960 to the present.