Landmarks is the public art program of The University of Texas at Austin. Its projects are located throughout the main campus and are viewed by thousands of people every day.
In 2008, Landmarks was launched with the purpose of developing a cohesive collection of public art from a curatorial perspective. Today its projects beautify the main campus and engage visitors and the university community with art of the highest quality.
The program ensures a comprehensive approach by following guidelines established in the 2007 Public Art Master Plan (pdf). Created by Peter Walker Partners Landscape Architects, the plan proposes the best locations for installations of public art to provide visual anchors at gateways, to accentuate main axis corridors, and to consolidate architectural edges.
Landmarks’ first initiative brought to the university twenty-eight modern and contemporary sculptures on long-term loan from one of the world’s greatest museums, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. These extraordinary sculptures provide an art historical foundation upon which the university is building its own collection.
Growth of the university’s public art collection is supported by a policy that was adopted in 2005 called Art in Public Spaces. The policy sets aside 1 to 2 percent of ongoing capital improvement projects for an acquisitions fund, one example being a Skyspace by artist James Turrell that will soon grace the new student activity center.
Other projects draw upon philanthropic gifts to improve shared public spaces. Private support finances campus-wide priorities such as gateways, medians, malls, corridors, and other areas not associated with specific building projects. The heroic sculpture Clock Knot by Mark di Suvero, located at the corner of Speedway and Dean Keeton, exemplifies the power of art to transform such public locations.
Artists, curators, art historians, and architects lend their valuable expertise in order to help identify the most important and relevant works of public art for the university’s collection. Under development are several upcoming projects that will feature diverse media and demonstrate major trends in the visual arts.
Landmarks draws upon private philanthropy to maintain its collection and to support public outreach and education. Its projects have been integrated into curricula across various disciplines and offer many students their first point of engagement with great works of art. Combined with a range of educational resources, Landmarks turns the university’s 350-acre landscape into a campus-wide classroom for more than 70,000 faculty, staff, and students.
Beyond providing opportunities to continually engage with its growing public art collection, Landmarks serves students through its docent and preservation programs. Landmarks Docents helps students sharpen communication and analytic skills by leading visitors on tours of Landmarks projects. The Landmarks Preservation Guild offers students a chance to practice the care and maintenance of works of art in the Landmarks collection.
In addition to these programs, Landmarks provides the campus community and general public with resources to enhance their understanding of its collection. Activity guides offer instruction to three developmental stages of youth. For adults, information about each artist’s work, bibliographic resources, and audio tours are also available.
By bringing great works of public art to the main campus, Landmarks records our history, builds community, and creates a sense of place, now and for future generations. To learn more, visit Landmarks projects in person, view the interactive map, or read the Frequently Asked Questions.