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Tykeson Hall: A Showcase for Public Art

“Smith Rock, Oregon”—oil painting by professor emerita Margaret Prentice (Room 331, Tykeson Hall)

The newest additions to the 2,400 artworks in the State of Oregon art collection include nearly 50 works recently acquired for Willie and Donald Tykeson Hall.

Since 1975, the Oregon Arts Commission has managed the state’s Percent for Art Program, which stipulates that one percent of the construction budget for a public building shall be set aside for art; through this funding, the OAC places high-quality, accessible art in public buildings throughout Oregon.

The art acquired for Tykeson Hall ranges from nature photographs to oil paintings to a five-story interactive sculpture in the main stairwell—all of which amplify the natural environment thematics and color schemes in the building.

The 11-person Tykeson Hall Artist Selection Committee (see committee roster below), facilitated by Rebecca Banyas of the OAC, met throughout 2018 and put out a call to artists for two categories of art in the building: 1) two-dimensional artworks for the conference rooms and collaborative spaces throughout the building, to help create a warm and welcoming space for students, and 2) a large-scale three-dimensional statement piece that would help define the innovative, forward-thinking character of the building.

“Planetarium”—photograph by professor emeritus Craig Hickman (Room 133, Tykeson Hall)

According to Banyas, the selection process is prescribed by the state, but leaves a great deal of flexibility for each committee to define its objectives and choose the artwork that best supports their goals. Her role, in addition to facilitating the process, was to connect the committee with her wealth of contacts in the regional art world.

For the conference rooms and collaborative spaces, the committee selected works by several Oregon artists: oil landscapes by UO professor emerita Margaret Prentice; nature photographs by Deb Stoner, Gloria Baker Feinstein, Adam Bacher, and Joe Cantrell; photographs of urban and rural signage by UO professor emeritus Craig Hickman; and relief block prints by Mika Aono, a printmaking studio technician at UO.

“Reflectance Field”—multistory three-dimensional installation by Susan Narduli (main stairwell, Tykeson Hall)

For the large-scale installation, the committee commissioned Los Angeles artist Susan Narduli, whose studio bills itself as “working at the intersection of art, architecture, technology and public space,” to produce a five-story interactive installation. Entitled Reflectance Field, the dynamic sculpture is intended to be evocative of rainfall and designed to invite active participation.

The work features 35 carefully placed chimes within a field of 1,100 “rain” elements (ranging in size from 6” to 12” suspended on 50 cables); together these components transform the sculpture into a collaborative musical instrument. Watch a video of the magic of the chimes in action.

Sculptor Ellen Tykeson—whose parents Willie and Donald Tykeson were the philanthropists who launched the fundraising effort that resulted in the building that now bears their names—was a member of the artist selection committee. She has served on numerous such committees and was struck by the collaborative and enthusiastic spirit of her committee colleagues.

“Resonance IV” — relief block print by Mika Aono (north end of 2nd floor hallway, Tykeson Hall)

“We had an unusually strong committee.” she said, “Members were informed and passionate about the project, and brought an understanding for the overarching vision of what this building could contribute.”

She added that her mother, Willie Tykeson, who was able to tour the building shortly before she passed away in October, was very pleased with the art selection. “We got a great result,” she said. “I was very happy to be included.”

Take a tour of Tykeson Hall to see the full selection of artwork, which may also be viewed  on the Oregon Arts Commission Percent for Art Collection website.


Tykeson Hall Artist Selection Committee—State of Oregon Percent for Art Program


Rebecca Banyas, Public Art Project Manager, Oregon Arts Commission

Committee Members

Martina Oxoby, Owner’s Representative, Design and Construction, Campus Planning and Facilities Management
Cathy Soutar, Project User Group Chair, Planning and Facilities Director, College of Arts and Sciences (CAS)
Hal Sadofsky, Divisional Dean for Natural Sciences for the CAS, Math professor, user group member
Kate Werdebaugh, Interim Director, Career Center, user group member
Isaac Campbell, Design architect, Office 52
Chris Andrejko, Architect of record, Rowell Brokaw
Ginger Cartwright, Architecture faculty, user group member
Jia Rong Li, College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) student representative
Boyuan Yang, Student intern and employee, Career Center
Sarah Grew, Artist and community member
Ellen Tykeson, Artist and community member

2 thoughts on “Tykeson Hall: A Showcase for Public Art

  1. Although the article describes lots of art work in Tykeson Hall, I see nothing about the pillow-like sculptures on the lawn near the west side of the building. Are they not part of the Tykeson Hall art?

    1. Hi TK – what a lovely visual! The white objects on the West Terrace are called Soma Stones. They were purchased separately from the State of Oregon 1% Percent for Art Program. The Soma Stones actually function as sculptural ‘rock-like’ benches for the campus population to use – and have become very popular with students and faculty alike.

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