Office of the Vice President for Global Communications

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

First-ever public sculpture to be installed on Huron River

Artist William Dennisuk’s installation of his porous, vase-like sculpture of bronze rods at a bend of the Huron River comes with a simple message: nature and communities are inextricably linked. The project itself offers a case in point.

Artist William Dennisuk's sculpture at Lurie Pond outside the College of Engineering. The next installation of this project will be on the Huron River in Nichols Arboretum, (Photo courtesy of William Dennisuk)

After eight months of tailoring the project to meet rigorous city and state environmental standards, Dennisuk’s elegant sculptural vessel will be installed May 26 (weather permitting) on the Huron River in the Nichols Arboretum. It marks the first funded public sculpture to be displayed on the winding waterway.

“The project draws attention to our relationship with water, and by extension, the larger environment,” says Dennisuk, 2009-2010 Roman J. Witt Artist in Residence at the School of Art & Design (A&D). The residency supports artists creating new work in collaboration with students and faculty.

The river-based sculpture is the second of Dennisuk’s three-phase Vessel Project. In late April, Phase I was installed in the Lurie reflecting pool outside the College of Engineering on North Campus; and Phase III will be installed in Gallup Park at the end of May.

The three sculptures, which are privately funded, will be on display through October.

“It’s a thrill to have the prospect of more art in public places, and a gift to have that work funded by U-M’s School of Art & Design,” says Scott Rosencrans, chair, Ann Arbor Park Advisory Commission. “William Dennisuk, his team and his sponsors are great to work with. And, as a regular kayaker on the Huron River, I look forward to the new experience.”

The Vessel Project received an official state permit from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Environment. Dennisuk also worked closely with OSEH, Ann Arbor Parks Advisory Commission, and U-M’s President’s Advisory Committee on Public Art and Exterior Elements Design Review Committee.

Originally from Detroit, Dennisuk has been living in Finland for the past 20 years. He returned to Michigan after he was named an artist-in-residence. The residency runs through June; at that time, Dennisuk plans to return to Finland.

Funding for the Witt residency and sculptural installations is provided by Penny W. Stamps, who also supports A&D’s popular Penny W. Stamps Lecture Series.