Beloit College is fortunate to have a fine collection of public sculpture dispersed throught the campus. Benefitting from the patronage of former professors O. Verne Shaffer and Arnold Popinski (associate professor of art from 1957-1976), the collection has been further enhanced in recent years through the generosity of Iranian-born Siah Armajani, who has become a great friend of Beloit.


The Beloit Poetry Garden
Siah Armajani

Located at the corner of College and Bushnell Streets, the Beloit Poetry Garden is a focal point for the college and local communities. It was created as work of art commissioned for the Lannan Foundation in Los Angeles in 1992; when the foundation moved into a new location, it was dismantled. In 1999, elements of the original garden were installed on the grounds of Beloit College under the guidance of the artist, Siah Armajani. The Beloit Poetry Garden consists of a series of benches, ceramic pots, wooden tables, and steel gates interspersed among greenery and floral plantings. It is a popular venue for performances, presentations, class meetings, and quiet relaxation.

Gazebo for One Anarchist: Emma Goldman 1991
Siah Armajani

Located between Middle College and South College, this sculpture had been on loan to Beloit College since 1993. In 1996, on the occasion of Beloit's Sesquicentennial, the work was permanently donated to the College by the artist. The title of the piece refers to Russian-born anarchist Emma Goldman (1869-1940) who rejected all institutions of force and all violent means of exploitation. Althought an anarchist himself, Armajani's work is not overtly political in nature. Rather, through the union of fine art and public art, he seeks to create utilitarian sculptures which help call into question conventional political ideologies and accepted notions on art and its function in a democratic society.

Wood Family Fishing Bridge
Siah Armajani

The Beloit Fishing Bridge, a structure over 750 feet long spanning the Rock River, was dedicated in 1997. Built over an old railroad trestle, the bridge comprises eight rectangular platforms connected by a continuous pathway. At each end, a metal gate frames a tree and a boulder. At the west end of the bridge, a reproduction of a diesel locomotive is raised upon a girder bridge, an homage to the engines once built by local manufacturer Fairbanks Morse. The bridge salutes Beloit's industrial heritage and offers space for contemplation, recreation and strolling or simply the opportunity to cross the river over a creation by one of America's preeminent artists. 

Arnold Popinsky (1968)

Arnold Popinsky was a Beloit College associate professor of art from 1957 to 1976. His nearly twenty-foot tall cast aluminum sculpture stands at the Weese pedestrian interchange on the east corner of Chamberlin Hall. Biomorphic form and texture characterize this non-representational work. Originally, Popinsky's sculpture was to be one of three works underwritten by Beloit College Trustee James B. Gage ('28) in honor of Beloit College's sixth president, Miller Upton. Popinsky is noted for working diligently on the sculpture. However, much to the disgust of the artist, the casting process marred the work with visible seams that denied its intended texture and form. Popinsky refused to finish and polish the work. 

O. Verne Shaffer (1965)

This sculpture now resides between Middle College and Smith Hall. It was originally situated in a courtyard along the north side of the Beloit College Library. However, the details of the sculpture, the face of the bird and the encolumned human figure were only visible from the north study lounge of the library. When the courtyard was dismantled in 1990-91 the sculpture became fully visible to passersby. Its relocation to its current position has once again rendered the upper details difficult to discern, but its situation at one of the crossroads of the college campus has surely boosted its visibility.

Winds of Change
O. Verne Shaffer (1975)

Located between Logan Museum and Wright Museum, this is a memorial sculpture which places significance not only on representation, but also on site. Commissioned by the parents of Katherine Ann Marburg after her mysterious death in 1969, the piece is located within close proximity to places and spaces most beloved by Katherine during her days at Beloit. The title of the piece, along with its flowing bird-like shapes, convey the changes that life and death bring, while the work's abstracted forms allow for multiple interpretations of the meaning of change.

O. Verne Shaffer 

Located in Godfrey Anthropology Building, this piece forms a visual divider between the lobby and the lounge areas. The sculpture elicits images of the rainforest in the center, a skull, and concealed among the leaves, a frog. In a sense it is the emergence of man from the forest primaeval, an apt subject for the halls of a building dedicated to the study of human culture.

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