Historical Local Art making its way to Kirkwood

Kirkwood Community College
Published: January 21 2013 | 12:53 pm - Updated: 28 March 2014 | 10:21 am in

The world is coming to Kirkwood… at least a smaller version of what the world looked like back in 1953 that is. A six-foot aluminum globe that was on display at the Eastern Iowa Airport and the Ground Transportation Building in Cedar Rapids will find its new home, along with other local artwork, on Kirkwood Community College’s main campus in Cedar Rapids.

The college is in the middle of a multi-year construction project, remodeling Linn Hall, Kirkwood’s original building, which opened in 1969.

When construction finishes on the main lobby this summer, the globe will be the focal point, flanked by additional local artwork. The college secured the donation of stained glass windows from the First Christian Church in Cedar Rapids, which was torn down last spring. Famed glass artist Louis Millet designed the windows.

“I was ecstatic when I found out both the globe and stained glass would be coming to Kirkwood,” said Kirkwood Art Instructor Arbe Bareis. “In working with architects, we decided a large sculpture would be great in this newly-designed space. Buying a large sculpture on a limited budget is not possible, and these gifted pieces will allow us to have the wow-factor we were hoping for in that space.”

Because it was damaged in the flood of 2008, the Federal Emergency Management Agency will pay for the restoration of the globe. Kirkwood will pay to restore the stained glass windows, which are about 100 years old.

Bareis, who oversees art acquisitions for new building projects and renovations at the college, said the globe will sit in the center of the Linn Hall lobby, with the stained glass windows hung on each side. He said it will all be visible as students and guests approach the building from the parking lot.

“The artwork is timeless,” added Bareis. “The globe is as the world was back in 1953. It has a great sense of history, but the colors and style really lend itself well to a contemporary design… And Millet’s stained glass will complement the globe and show very nicely in the space.”

Bareis said he tries to secure local art for display at Kirkwood, but he often searches for pieces that can expand students’ horizons even further. He plans to display artwork from the 17th-19th centuries, from various continents around Linn Hall as well.

“We’re lucky to have the leadership we do at the college. It allows for an innovative way to make an impression on students and the community now and into the future.”

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