Chihuly Sculpture

ChihulySculpture3.jpegMary Schiller Myers, a 1943 graduate of The University of Akron, was instrumental in selecting some of the public art enhancing UA’s campus, as well as Akron’s parks and public buildings.

After the Goodyear Polymer Center was built, Dean Frank Kelley envisioned a bold and dramatic work of art in the circle outside his window. In 1998 the University’s Art in Public Places Committee began searching for the right work of art and issued a call for proposals. Several of the responding 86 artists were invited to submit ideas. Mrs. Myers, a committee member, saw a massive outdoor work by Dale Chihuly at the Marlboro Gallery courtyard on one of her frequent visits to New York. Chihuly had originally submitted a proposal to the committee, but it had been set aside because a work in glass did not seem feasible for campus.

While Chihuly was in Cleveland, for an exhibit of his work, he met with Mrs. Myers and members of the university community. He told them he was beginning to work with polymer materials and would be interested in doing more, thus introducing the idea of a polymer work of art.

The result of Mrs. Myers and Dean Kelley’s vision for unique and significant public art is the stunning Chihuly Outdoor Art Sculpture.

ChihulySculpture1.jpgMrs. Myers pledged the initial $100,000 as a challenge gift in honor of her late husband, Louis S. Myers, a founder of Myers Industries. The challenge was met by a grant from the Harold and Catherine Folk Charitable Foundation thanks to the efforts of George W. Daverio, Jr., and a gift from A. Schulman, Inc. A commitment from Bayer MaterialScience L.L.C. to donate the polymer materials became an important contribution. The landscaped base was funded by percent for arts and is modeled after the spiral curves of the chambered nautilus, one of nature’s more perfect designs. Further support was received from The Ohio Arts Council and the University’s Division of Capital Planning.


Dale Chihuly (artist)

Benefits to campus

The Chihuly Outdoor Art Sculpture is only the third installation by internationally renowned artist Dale Chihuly in Ohio. Completed in July 2005, The University of Akron welcomed a new tower of iridescent blue polymer. The 30-foot-tall polyurethane and stainless-steel sculpture is constructed with 83 individual “rocks” – each weighing 60-80 pounds – mounted to a central stainless-steel armature. The entire piece is secured to a 10-foot-tall cylindrical base of reinforced concrete.

The sculpture advances the image and understanding of the uses of polymers and initiated an unparalleled opportunity for recognition of UA in the polymer realm and in the fine arts community.



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