Office of the Vice President for Global Communications

Monday, April 11, 2011

A&D students sculpt recycled limestone from Michigan Union

Limestone blocks recycled from the Michigan Union, and transformed into sculptures by School of Art & Design (A&D) students, now are on display.

The blocks were made available after the removal of a window in the Michigan Union. This inspired A&D Professor Michael Rodemer to teach his students more than just the techniques of stone carving. Limestone sculptures carved from pieces of the union will be sold to create a fund to support student projects in A&D.

  From left, Courtney Harring and Maxwell Brake work on their sculptures using limestone blocks recycled from the Michigan Union. (Photo by Michael Rodemer)

The sculpture exhibit and sale, facilitated by University Unions Arts & Programs (UUAP), will take place through April 17 in the Art Lounge on the first floor of the Michigan Union.

Under Rodemer's guidance, the students have been learning the stone carving process, all the way from making clay models and forging their own tools to the techniques of carving and finishing limestone sculpture.

"It has been a great opportunity to learn a sculpture technique that is not usually taught at the university in an extremely unique way," says Maxwell Brake, a student in the class. "Getting to create a piece of sculpture out of a piece of the Michigan Union is not an opportunity that happens often. I think it is a pretty cool privilege."

The project began when the manager at the University Unions Graphic Design Office alerted Rodemer about the limestone's availability. The manager was present when construction workers removed a window from the building, and asked that the stone — oolitic limestone, some of the finest for statuary — be saved and recycled for further use.


More information

• For more information about the exhibit, contact Will Atkins, UUAP program coordinator,

• For more information about the class or to purchase sculptures, contact Rodemer,

Click here to see more photos showing the class' progress.

A&D officials recognized this as a unique opportunity for both philanthropy and learning. A group of students signed up for the course, both to learn stone carving and because they wanted to help provide funding support to needy students.

This project is one of several initiatives that have brought a connection between A&D and University Unions. For 26 years, the University Unions Graphic Design Office has offered internship positions to students from A&D to work on all promotional pieces for the University Unions facilities and programs.

In addition, many pieces of art that have been created by A&D alumni and faculty can be found on the walls of the Michigan Union, Michigan League and Pierpont Commons.