University Park, IL,
15:42 PM

Art Emerges from the Shadows

A bright, shining sun and gentle breeze provided the perfect backdrop for a cast bronze piece of French sculpture to emerge from obscurity at Governors State University’s Nathan Manilow Sculpture Park.

Lanleff Demeure No. 4 1961, was recently installed outside Governors State’s E-Lounge, two weeks before the university’s signature fundraiser Sculpture, Wine, and Dine on Sept. 14.

“It’s a fresh location for a freshly renovated piece, right in the center of the Sculpture Park,’’ said Jeff Stevenson, park director and curator.

French artist Henri Etienne-Martin designed the 60s-era piece which had been showcased outside the now shuttered conference center in a remote location on the university property.

Like the center, the art was in need of conservation, restoration, and tender loving care. “It was hidden in the back near an abandoned building,’’ said Biology major Marie Schelfo.

She and Art major Nathan Couwenhoven, accidentally discovered it on a campus walk in 2018 and launched a Go-Fund Me campaign to restore it.

Their efforts raised about $6,000 of the $10,000 needed to clean, sandblast, and coat the nearly three-ton sculpture to help shield it from the elements, and present it to its best effect.

Watching the meticulous installation of the piece near the E-Lounge, Schelfo was excited.

“I’m extremely happy to get this out front. … It was kind of mean to let it rot back there when all the other art could be seen,’’ she said.

A popular meeting spot for students, the E-Lounge is the perfect location for those attending the Sculpture, Wine, and Dine, Stevenson said.

“All tours will go right by the Etienne Martin,’’ he said.

Sculpture, Wine, and Dine is a unique farm-to-table experience right in the sculpture park. Tours will be available, as well as a meet and greet with artists such as Richard Hunt.

Tickets are $200. Please contact Karen Shander for a payroll deduction option.

Read more about the student-led campagin here.