Husky Mascot, Husky Plaza

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Client: Saint Cloud State University Foundation

Location: Saint Cloud, MN, United States

Completion date: 2019

Artwork budget: $65,000

Project Team

Sculpture design, project management

Chris Bennett

Bennett Studio

3-D scans, enlarging, 3-D prints

Kevin Galloway

Across the Board Creations

foundry processes

Jim Dickson

Century Bronze, Madd Castings

Husky Plaza design

Steve Paasch

GLT Architects

Husky Plaza project manager

Jason Whiting

Terra Construction

Photography

Michael Becker

Michael Becker Photography

Overview

Through a nationwide search my submission was chosen by St. Cloud State University Foundation, St. Cloud, Minnesota.
They sought an artist to create a twice life-size bronze Husky mascot, to be premiered in their newly designed fifty-foot diameter Husky Plaza. The oversized Husky measures six feet tall to the tip of the upright ears, and four feet to the top of the withers. It is installed on a six-inch tall by eight-foot diameter disc of indigenous black and white granite.
I collaborated with six separate companies to complete the project, directly managing four of their contributions.

Goals

Husky Plaza was established just outside the Student Union. It is a central gathering and rally space for daily campus activity and celebrations. The plaza was to be completed and the sculpture unveiled by mid-September 2019 to help celebrate the 150th anniversary of the school.
I was able to complete and install the sculpture two days before the unveiling of the sculpture, presentation of the plaza and anniversary celebration, which included Homecoming festivities.
Central and attractive Husky Plaza has been well used for public and private events, including weddings and reunions. The bronze sculpture is much appreciated as well, including photo opportunities, and nose rubbing for luck. It has been adorned with winter scarves, and even a pandemic face mask.
The plaza is a perfectly sized frame for the Husky sculpture, which could look small in a more open space. The sculpture is a correctly sized interactive focal point for the plaza. The relationship of the two designs meet and exceed the St. Cloud State University Foundation expectations for the site. A rather nondescript sidewalk area has been transformed into the most notable and visited jewel of the campus.

Process

In August 2018 St. Cloud University Foundation commissioned me to produce a 2 x life-size bronze Husky according to my presented drawing.
I forwarded the drawing to Across the Board Creations. By October 2018 they 3-D modeled, and 3-D printed a small-scale model from my drawing. The scale model blank was sent to me for revision and detailing.
Upon approval from the SCSU foundation, I returned the model January 2019 to Across the Board Creations. They scanned it for enlarging. Upon approval, the enlargement was 3-D printed in sections.
The sections were sent to Century Bronze foundry for processing. Century Bronze refinished the section surfaces, ready for bronze casting. The sections were cast, cleaned, assembled, and refinished. With final approval, I transported the sculpture to SCSU for installation.
GLT Architects, coordinating with Terra construction, spent summer 2019 creating fifty-foot diameter, brick and stone Husky Plaza. From Coldspring Quarry, they purchased a low granite pedestal for the center of the plaza.
I coordinated with Terra Construction to receive and install the bronze sculpture. I delivered it to their crane depot. Installation was completed within a few hours.
The plaza-sculpture composition was documented by Michael Becker Photography.

Additional Information

It was a pleasure to work with the Saint Cloud State University Foundation to finish their iconic Husky mascot. I have successfully worked with a number of other schools and universities to create mascots and sculptures for their campuses Each of the collaborating companies were patient and very cooperative during several difficult and time sensitive moments encountered during the project. I am working with Across the Board Creations again, and hope to work with each of the other companies again on subsequent commissions. After the completion of the major project, I was asked to produce six, eight-inch tall bronze miniature replicas of the bronze Husky, for St. Cloud State University Foundation. They will be mounted on wooden bases and presented as awards. As well, I offered the miniatures at four inches and one and a half inch tall scale for retail purposes.