Sculpture Installation Caps Yearlong Partnership Between Dubuque and the University of Iowa

On Tuesday, June 18, at 3:00 pm, a new sculpture will be unveiled in front of Audubon Elementary School in Dubuque. The public is encouraged to attend the celebratory event.

Jamie Weinfurter, who graduated from the University of Iowa in May with an MFA in Sculpture and Intermedia, created the sculpture from recovered playground equipment. In December 2023, Weinfurter visited Audubon Elementary and talked with students about her artmaking process. She also asked the children for ideas about what makes the school special. Based on their suggestions and drawings, the artist designed a piece that resembles the wings of a hawk. Audubon’s mascot is a hawk, and it is a bird often seen flying over the nearby Bee Branch Creek Greenway.

“The generosity and commitment of everyone who has been involved in this project has been so appreciated,” says Audubon’s principal Ed Glaser, “because having a work of art of this magnitude on our property will add to the welcoming and student friendly environment we have at Audubon. In addition, our sculpture will serve as inspiration and a sense of pride for every aspiring artist who stops to appreciate it.”

The sculpture includes a display case for a rotation of student art to be publicly shared. Weinfurter, who recently accepted a faculty position at Michigan State University, wanted the sculpture to honor the students’ creativity.

The playground equipment was salvaged by Dubuque Council member Danny Sprank from Comiskey Park with the hopes of repurposing it. A public art project led and created by a UI student was part of the package of work completed during the yearlong partnership between the City of Dubuque and the University of Iowa’s Initiative for Sustainable Communities. The partnership, which officially ended in May, resulted in 16 projects involving more than 100 students and faculty. Their work ranged from creating an affordable housing action plan to reporting the “Green Horizons” insert in the Telegraph Herald.

Weinfurter and a team of volunteers will install the sculpture during the morning of June 18. An official ceremony to celebrate the new art piece will be held in front of Audubon Elementary at 3:00 pm with remarks from Sprank, Glaser, and Weinfurter. Members of the school community and nearby neighborhoods are especially encouraged to attend. The event is free and open to all.

The University of Iowa’s Initiative for Sustainable Communities is a campus-wide, engaged learning program housed in the Graduate College. IISC invests University of Iowa faculty and student time to increase the capacity of Iowa communities and to help them plan for a sustainable future. By taking students out of the classroom and into communities to complete real-world projects, IISC accomplishes two university-wide goals: enhancing sustainability across the state and transforming teaching and learning at the University of Iowa. To view current projects and past partnerships, visit http://iisc.uiowa.edu.

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