The “sculpture committee” of Brown University was formed in the mid-1980s by Artemis Joukowsky in close collaboration with Visual Art Professor Richard Fishman and other members of the administration and faculty. The committee vetted potential donations of sculpture for the University’s grounds. With the establishment of Brown’s percent-for-art program by President Gordon Gee in 1999, the committee was renamed the Public Art Committee and its mission was expanded.
However, works of public art were sited on campus long before that time. Notably examples include the equestrian statue of Marcus Aurelius that stands at the rear of Sayles Hall. A copy of the one on Capitoline Hill in Rome, the sculpture was unveiled on June 1, 1908. Italian sculptor Paolo S. Abate’s bust of Dante stands in front of the John Hay Library. Given to Brown University in 1921 by the Italians of Rhode Island, it commemorates the sixth centenary of Dante’s death. And, then Vice Chancellor Artemis Joukowsky commissioned and donated America One by Dusan Dzmonja, for the patio of the Thomas J. Watson Sr., Center for Information Technology (CIT). It was dedicated in October 1990. Entries for these and numerous other campus sculptures will be added to this site in the future.
The creation of a distinguished collection of contemporary artworks is a primary goal of the Public Art Committee. We accomplish this through Brown’s percent-for-art program and important gifts and loans. Artists represented in the collection to date include Ann Hamilton, Nina Katchadourian, Maya Lin, Sarah Oppenheimer, Martin Puryear, Diane Samuels, and upcoming, Spencer Finch.