A massive 16-foot-high sculpture by famous sculptor (and ex-Wichitan) Tom Otterness is coming to the Wichita State University campus.
The piece, which will be called “Shockers,” will be installed in a large grassy area by Duerksen Fine Arts Center.
It is expected to be completed by fall 2018 or spring 2019, according to a university news release.
It will be similar to Otterness’ traveling exhibition, “Makin’ Hay,” which until last month was installed on the edge of the university’s Innovation Campus.
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Two 16-foot-high figures, made of weathered steel, will stand side-by-side, surveying a field of real prairie hay bales – which the university will replenish annually. One figure will hold a scythe.
Locally, Otterness is known for his large “Dreamers Awake” sculpture in front of the Wichita Art Museum and “Millipede,” also on the Wichita State University campus.
The children of the late Joan S. Beren – son Adam and daughters Amy Bressman and Julie Platt – worked with the Ulrich Museum of Art and the Wichita State University Foundation to commission the piece in honor of their mother, an ardent supporter of the fine arts.
She had a particular passion for WSU’s Martin H. Bush Outdoor Sculpture Collection, giving a $1 million estate gift to endow what is now called the Joan S. Beren Outdoor Sculpture Conservation Fund.
“Our mother was an extraordinary person and it will take an extraordinary work of art to honor her in a fitting and enduring way. I think ‘Shockers’ fits the bill,” Adam Beren said in the news release.
“Mom would be delighted to know that Tom Otterness will create this piece in her memory, as she admired him and his work,” her daughter, Julie Platt, said in the release.