Springfield, MO

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A sculpture called Here by Sarah Braman is currently on loan by the artist to the University of Houston.
A sculpture called Here by Sarah Braman is currently on loan by the artist to the University of Houston.

Museum looks to expand outdoor sculpture collection

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The Springfield Art Museum is looking to add an outdoor sculpture that Director Nick Nelson described as “monumental.”

If Springfield City Council approves a balance transfer within the museum’s budget, the sculpture will be located in the museum’s amphitheater area, located behind the building.

“We’re currently looking at a piece entitled Here by an artist named Sarah Braman,” Nelson told council at its meeting Feb. 21. “It is a large, monumental piece made of concrete and stained glass, sort of a large, abstract piece that we want to install out on the grounds adjacent to the amphitheater.”

The sculpture is priced at $200,000, which the museum has available through a fund with $501,000 from sales of deaccessioned artwork from its collection – that is art the museum no longer uses and has sold. Those funds are dedicated solely to the purchase of art for the museum’s collection.

Nelson’s written explanation of the transfer request notes that the museum’s master plan calls for the installation of outdoor sculptures in the amphitheater to expand the use of outdoor spaces and enhance visitors’ experiences.

A sculpture by Braman titled Here is pictured on a website devoted to public art in the University of Houston system, where it is on long-term loan from the artist through 2026.

The site describes the piece, noting, “Light from the sun projects through the circular, colored glass windows of this industrial form, casting lightly pigmented shadows. This dynamic interplay of light and color can be observed by peering through the windows and walking around the sculpture and will vary depending on the time of day and position of the sun.”

The site says the effect of the shadows references a sundial, and adds, “The artist believes that slowing down to encounter the shifting light and color can be a transformative experience.”

Another monument-scale sculpture is already in place in front of the museum. Popularly known as the French Fries sculpture, the yellow abstract piece is titled Sun Target II by artist John Henry. It has been in place since 1980. A 2021 museum Facebook post asked for input on whether it should move the sculpture to another location on its grounds, and the public response was mixed.

The museum’s 30-year master plan, announced in 2018, calls for $19 million in expansion work and improvements, according to past Springfield Business Journal reporting.

The museum’s board of directors approved the purchase of the Here sculpture at its November 2022 meeting. Council will vote on the request at its March 6 meeting.


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