Western OR University Math/Nursing Dept - CODAworx

Western OR University Math/Nursing Dept


Client: Oregon Arts Commission

Location: Monmouth, OR, United States

Completion date: 2009

Artwork budget: $20,000

Project Team


Laura Bender

Site Painters


John Early

Site Painters

Project Coordinator

Saralyn Hilde

Oregon Arts Commission

Principal Architect

Brad Dehle

Soderstrom Architects


Percent for Art commission for WOU’s Math/Nursing Building entrance lobby. To Manifest is a series exploring in Da Vincian spirit the numerical sequence of zero to nine. The panels (carved and painted wood, assemblage, and appliqued linen) speak poetically of the truth of numbers embedded in the forms of nature and the vitality of this manifested world. The diptych, To Nurture , welcomes students, staff, and visitors as they approach the stairs to the Nursing department.


With the construction of this new university building, the Oregon Arts Commission put out a Percent for Art call. The goal for the art was to welcome students into the department and provide a visual context for the two areas of study, math on the first floor and nursing on the second. Math is often thought of as a purely cerebral concept, but numbers and their relationships are deeply embedded in the world of nature, giving rise to patterns of generation and growth and rhythms manifested throughout the world. This installation is intended to engage viewers in a spirit of curiosity and discovery.


As a semi-finalist in this call for art, Laura Bender presented a design board visually explaining the direction of her proposal for the entrance lobby to the jury. After being awarded the commission, she worked closely with the director of the OR Arts Commission and with the lead architect for the project in determining siting, lighting, and installation.