La. officials dedicate new sculpture on LSU’s campus

(Louisiana Office of Cultural Development)
Published: Sep. 29, 2022 at 2:52 PM CDT
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The following is a press release from the Louisiana Office of Cultural Development:

BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - The Louisiana Office of Cultural Development’s Division of the Arts and the Percent for Art program, along with officials from LSU, dedicated the newest sculpture installed on the Baton Rouge campus today. Created by artist John Fleming, Reflectivity represents the live oaks which remain an iconic symbol of the LSU campus. The sculpture, located outside the LSU Bookstore on Union Square, reveals the essence of the live oak with a mirrored canopy that reflects life at LSU. According to Fleming, Reflectivity is a landmark, a gathering place offering shade, and with its mirrored underside, a true reflection of all of us.

Commissioned through the Percent for Arts program, Reflectivity is consistent with the university’s commitment to the generation, preservation, dissemination, and application of knowledge and cultivation of the arts. Reflectivity is composed of 20 mirror-finished stainless steel panels held aloft by four galvanized steel “trees.” The galvanized steel tree branches pass through round cutouts in the stainless steel canopy. Each branch supports a spoke in the beam structure above. A circular wooden bend underneath provides a place to sit in the shade. At night, the sculpture comes to life with two LED lights under the bench.

John Fleming is a Seattle-based artist whose work is guided by respect for the natural world, recycling, reclamation and reuse of daily materials. He currently has sculptures sited in several different states including Washington, Oregon, Iowa, Wyoming, New Mexico, and now, Louisiana. His portfolio features public art sculpture, architecture, gallery installations and environmental art.

“One might ask, ‘how can an outsider create art for a place they have never been to?’ As an outsider, I thought maybe a fresh look could uncover things forgotten or things taken for granted. I began reading anything I could find about Baton Rouge and LSU. I looked at old and new pictures, maps, and aerial photographs. What really stood out for me were the live oak trees. Could I capture the essence of these trees in my art? My first inclination was to abstract the form of the live oaks,” said artist John Fleming. “The more I thought about it the more I felt I needed to look beyond mere abstraction. The important part seemed to be the experience of moving underneath the canopy of these trees. Getting out of the sun and into the shade. The patterns cast on the ground. Could I create a canopy that reflects the dance all of us go through as we pass below? That was my real discovery, what came from a fresh look. I call it Reflectivity.”

Enacted in 1999, the Percent for Art law stipulates whenever a state agency budgets to spend more than $2 million in state funds for the construction or renovation of a state building that 1% of the money shall be used to acquire, conserve, or restore and install works of art for display in or on the grounds of the state building. The Percent for Arts program is administered by the Louisiana Office of Cultural Development’s Division of the Arts, in collaboration with the Division of Administration and Office of Facility Planning and Control.

The Louisiana Percent for Art program provides the people of Louisiana with an improved public environment, adds visibility to the cultural heritage of the state and its people, attracts visitors to the state and creates economic opportunities and training for public art artists and related industries.

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