Campus community invited to contribute to new campus sculpture

ActualSize Artworks is inviting MSUM students, faculty and staff to help select the language to be incorporated in their sculpture, “Sown.” “Sown” is an artwork/gathering space that will be installed in the campus quad next year. It will include a sculpture, lighting, plants and seating. The artists plan to place phrases that express the nature of the artwork in the seating area.

Schedule for campus input

Open house presentations of the public art project for the campus community will be held Thursday, Nov. 10 from 5 to 6 p.m. and again from 6 to 7 p.m., both in Science Lab 118.

The artists will hold text-gathering sessions to hear suggestions from the campus community for phrases that may be included on Friday, Nov. 11 10 to 11:30 a.m. and 1 to 2:30 p.m., both in Owens 201.

Text guidelines

  • the topic should focus on growth, potential or “sense of place”
  • no more than 45 words, or a couple of sentences
  • please print it out so we can put it up
  • or email to

Sample text fragments for “Sown”


“Great oaks from little acorns grow” -14th century Proverb

“I frequently tramped eight or ten miles through the deepest snow to keep an appointment with a beech-tree, or a yellow birch, or an old acquaintance among the pines.” ~Henry David Thoreau

“Perspective is the ground that creeps up from the valley floor, reminding us of what is coming from a long way off – rippling the prairie grass, another universe that spreads out all around us, at our feet.”

-Mark Vinz, from “Flat Country”


More about “Sown”

This artwork will take the place of the circular paved area currently located near the middle of the quad. The artists—Gail Simpson, Aris Georgiades and Dean Proctor—were inspired by the idea of MSUM as a place where students grow and thrive under the guidance of a dedicated faculty, and the campus as a welcoming, meaningful place in the community of Moorhead. The sculpture is about “potential”, and about nature as a metaphor for human aspirations and endeavors.

The central seating circle will be flanked by graceful arching sculptures that resemble the historic “acorn” lights placed throughout the quad. During the day these will be reminiscent of grasses or stems leaning over, and after dusk, the lights at the top will glow. Within and around the circular area, a cluster of cast stone sculptures resembling acorns and spruce cones are set.  These forms refer to the oak and the evergreen –suggesting the plains of the Dakotas and the forests of Minnesota. Benches line the interior of the circle, which is raised on the north side to allow us to sit facing the warmth of the sun.  The pathways intersect the circle, and prairie grasses and native plants surround the exterior.

In the interior of the seating area, phrases will be cast into the masonry surfaces, and the artists are seeking your input about these phrases. We’ve included some examples here of the type of language we’d like to consider.  You can bring samples of writing that you like, or come and give your opinion of ones we’ve brought.  Any source will be welcome – poetry, prose, or writing from any discipline or point of view.

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