The Cat meets a mouse

 

Artist Arvanetes brings
City Mouse
to UNI

Andrew Arvanetes has been producing sculpture professionally since 1985. In his time as an artist, he has fabricated large outdoor sculptures, gallery-size work and low-relief wall constructions. 

Growing up in the Chicago area, Arvanetes was exposed to a wide range of experiences such as trips to the Museum of Science and Industry, White Sox games and to the O'Hare Airport. Then, for a short time, he and his family lived north of New York City where he visited the New York World's Fair.

For the last 14 years, he has been traveling to more than 22 countries.  He explains, "Memories of all these experiences, both from childhood and as an adult, play an important role in the imagery found in my sculpture."

This newly installed sculpture is called City Mouse. Like many of Arvanetes' sculptures, City Mouse simply began as a shape that he enjoyed. "Its form evolved as it was fabricated and the choice of a title was determined after completion. Originally a small pedestal size piece, "City Mouse" alluded to a child's toy. The propeller-like detail could easily be the key used to wind up the tiny spring motor and the windows on either side could be the eyes. The wheels, useless for locomotion as they are tilted and pointing inward, reminded me of cartoon legs, spinning furiously, while the character remained stationary. When the sculpture was fabricated in this monumental scale, the overall impression of a mouse remained. Like the mechanical mouse recalled from childhood cartoons, the sculpture approaches a threatening demeanor, while its whimsical nature remains dominant."

The University of Northern Iowa offers a unique variety of public art on campus in many colors, shapes and sizes. From the Iowa Cycles in front of Maucker Union to the Balanced/Unbalanced Beaks outside Curris Business Building, its collection of art spans over a century, beginning with the murals of Lang Hall, installed in 1902.

Former UNI President Bill Maucker brought about the beginning of UNI's public art purchase program in 1960 in hopes of promoting the arts and highlighting the liberal arts curriculum.

Nineteen years later in 1979, the State of Iowa passed the Iowa Art in State Buildings Program. Under this law, one-half of 1 percent of the budget for new or significantly renovated state buildings is to be spent on artwork.

There is evidence of the impact of the law across the UNI campus, where artwork graces the grounds of every building and greets students as they enter their classrooms for the day.

The latest piece installed on campus is a sculpture by artist Andrew Arvanetes. His piece is located on the corner of West 23rd street and Merner Avenue, in front of the Multimodal Transportation Center. This newly installed sculpture is called City Mouse.

"When the sculpture was fabricated in this monumental scale, the overall impression of a mouse remained. Like the mechanical mouse recalled from childhood cartoons, the sculpture approaches a threatening demeanor, while its whimsical nature remains dominant," Arvanetes said.

For more information about UNI's campus sculptures, contact Darrell Taylor, director of UNI Gallery of Art at 319-273-6134.

City Mouse Sculpture