Client: Notre Dame University
Location: South Bend, United States
Completion date: 2017
Erin Hoffmann Harding
University of Notre Dame
Barton Malow Company
A private commission for the University of Notre Dame's new Duncan Student Center, Folwell's sculptures pay homage to a rich legacy of art appointed architecture. 24 contemporary bas relief door handles celebrate the stadium hub where campus sport, leisure and academic life unite. Inspired by Notre Dame students, images portray women and men engaged in ROTC, prayer, band, theatre arts, athletics and more. The pulls are 18″ hand made, lost wax cast, limited edition bronze.
The new nine-story Duncan Student Center flanks the west side of the famed Notre Dame football stadium creating a year round hub of student activity. 24 art adorned entry doors are gateways to student ballrooms, restaurants, coffee shop, basketball courts, running track, fitness center, gathering, meeting and study areas as well as executive and media boxes for the famed 80,000 seat Notre Dame football stadium. The artists goal was to introduce sculpture celebrating the students of Notre Dame, activities, values and traditions. The pulls are a contemporary, utilitarian twist on traditional bas relief. Linear patterns borrowed from the 'Word of Life’ mural (a campus icon referred to as Touchdown Jesus) draw on concepts of spiritual energy. The artists non-traditional, figurative art is not portrait or hero but art about students engaged in their passions with the adrenaline, courage, pain and fear in us all - created with intent to inspire, teach and heal.
The artist collaborated with Doug Marsh, University Architect and Erin Hoffman Harding, Vice President for Student Affairs, to establish themes celebrating the entire student body, notably inclusive of women, the arts, academics and faith. The artist also collaborated with the general contractor and door manufacturer to ensure that pulls would integrate, visually and seamlessly with panic bar hardware and ADA requirements.
Folwell Studios is known for iconic, contemporary sport monuments. Folwell's clients include the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Vail Resorts, Denver Art Museum, Universities and civic collections nationwide. The artists hardware line, Handle The Art, was launched in 2015 to connect a broader audience to the tactile beauty of sculpture. The Duncan Student Center commission project melds her love of the human figure in motion and her mission to affect people with art, on a physical, emotional and conceptual level.