University City Public Art

Proposal board for Mound 28.

Art doesn't just happen in a studio.

Each year, the parks, plazas, schools, shopping districts, galleries, libraries, and community centers of University City—Washington University's neighbor to the north—fill with works by Sam Fox School art and design students as part of the University City Public Art Series.

Originally launched as the University City Sculpture Series in 1986, the collaboration between the Sam Fox School and the Municipal Commission on Arts & Letters of University City is the longest-running partnership of its type in the United States. For students, the series has become a rite of passage, a chance to explore the social aspects and civic responsibilities of being an artist. To date, more than 200 students, 17 professors, 4 deans, 2 chancellors, 60 commission members, and 2 mayors have collaborated on the series, producing almost 200 temporary public works.

2017 Series

The 2017 installation, Mound 28, was developed in response to the theme Uncommon Common Grounds. The student team (Jenn Brown, Erin Darnauer, Fin Roy-Nyline, and Jon Young) interpreted the theme as an opportunity to recognize the shared history of St. Louis as a mound-building region.

Mound 28 is an earthworks sculpture that will reimagine the existing landscape in Heman Park along Vernon Avenue. The forms emerge and subside from the landscape, creating a mythology of the river. The piece will explore the function of rivers as barriers, and mounds as cultural markers in the region. The River des Peres, located adjacent to the site, has been pushed underground. Mound 28 will bring the river to the surface, creating a barrier and a specific flow around the site. The piece references the 27 original mounds located in the region.

The opening celebration will be held on site from 1-3p April 29.

View the map for this year's piece>>
View photos from this year's piece>>

Visual Archive

To celebrate the history of the University City Public Art Series, we've created a special visual archive of pieces that includes pictures, videos, project proposals, and other related materials.

We're always interested in adding to this archive. If you're an artist who participated in the series who has something to say about your past or current work, or if you have photos, media, or other information related to the series, we encourage you to contact us through this online form.

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Support

Support for the University City Public Art Series is provided by the Marvin Levy Fund, the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts, and the Municipal Commission on Arts & Letters of University City.