Client: St. Cloud State University
Location: St. Cloud, MN, United States
Completion date: 2019
Artwork budget: $90,000
Len Goodman Design
Stacia Goodman Mosaics was chosen from a national art call to create two companion artworks for St. Cloud State University’s new Student Health and Wellness Innovation Center. The percent-for-art commission resulted in the design, fabrication and installation of two, stunning mixed-media mosaic projects: “Mississippi River Renewal” (two-stories high) and “Ripples and Connections” (entrance lobby). Each anchor the Center’s pristine location overlooking the powerful Mississippi River, as it gracefully flows around the nearby Beaver Islands.
The artwork was for the renovation of the University's beloved fourth-oldest building on campus -- and its original gymnasium -- called Eastman Hall. The artwork had to be site-specific in complementing the University's long historical narrative; feature a timeless, elegant and inclusive design; and incorporate original building items salvaged prior to renovation: wooden gym flooring and Art Deco-style pool tile. "Mississippi River Renewal" is framed with those materials; "Ripples and Connections" use the materials as a hint to the wooden docks that once connected the river's upstream Beaver Islands.
At the time of winning this double commission, the building was in heavy demolition. We had to work from complex engineering drawings, with the help of the construction manager, facility manager, architect and others. This required two upfront visits to do walk-throughs, prior to beginning in-studio fabrication of mosaic sections. The installation of the two-story mosaic was particularly tricky, because 1) it had to straddle an expansion beam between two floors, and 2) required an install team to work an electronic lift between narrow stair stringers. The broader team also involved members of the University's student health center, art department and communications department, all of whom wanted to share the artwork's evolution as it progressed. This culminated with Stacia Goodman giving numerous interviews and an on-campus public art lecture to art students.
The two artworks are a phenomenal success and truly activate a beautiful space with stunning natural light. The mosaics bridge the building's historic past with its very modern design and exciting future.