Exploring Public Art Around Campus

There are a ton of public art pieces to explore around campus. Read on to get a glimpse of some of my favorite art pieces that the University of Michigan has to offer!

By Katie FitzGibbons June 8, 2021
Public Art Blog Post

Going on a guided tour through the campus can give you a great feel for what college at the University of Michigan might be like, but unfortunately, there is no way for you to see everything that campus has to offer in just one tour. Or maybe you were only able to visit campus remotely this year because of the pandemic. That’s totally okay!

I promise you’ll be able to explore the campus when you’re a student here. Until that time, I thought I would show you around one of my favorite aspects of campus: the public art. When it comes to art, there’s a lot to see, with some well-known pieces and some hidden gems. I’ll show you some of my favorite pieces and hopefully, soon you’ll be able to see them with your own eyes.

Orion
Orion

Orion

This structure, called Orion, is one of the biggest and most eye-catching pieces around campus. You would be sure to see it on your way to lunch at South Quad or a lecture in Mason Hall. There is also a fun trick about this huge piece. Students claim that no matter what direction you are facing the structure from, the letters A-R-T are always visible. Pretty cool, right? I’ve definitely spent quite a bit of time staring at it as I’m dashing to class.

Arriving Home
Arriving Home

Arriving Home

This beautiful circular piece, called Arriving Home, is one that I just love love love. It is also a pretty well-known structure, although I tend to see it less than I see Orion. It is located right by the Central Campus Transit Center (CCTC), which is where a lot of the campus buses stop to pick up and drop off students. So, be sure to keep an eye out for it when you’re running to catch the bus. Another cool aspect of this piece is that, when the sunlight hits it just right, you can see beautiful rainbows reflecting off of it.

Angry Neptune, Salacia, and Strider
Angry Neptune, Salacia, and Strider

Angry Neptune, Salacia, and Strider

Now, this piece, called Angry Neptune, Salacia, and Strider, is definitely more hidden than the other two. It is located between Tappan Hall and the back of the University of Michigan Museum of Art (UMMA). I only discovered these statues on my way to office hours in Tappan Hall. These headless structures are so intriguing to look at, especially because, at least in my opinion, they look as if they are growing out of the ground. I’ve found that the benches near this piece provide a perfect secluded study spot where you can marvel at the art and the vast amounts of vines crawling up the walls around you.

The Rock located on the corner of Hill and Washtenaw.
The Rock

The Rock

Student art is just as important as professional art, which is why I decided to include The Rock in my list of public art pieces. The Rock is located on the corner of Hill and Washtenaw, and you will most likely paint The Rock at one point in your time at Umich. Maybe you’ll do it with a club, or on your first day as a first-year, or some other time in your many years here. It’s always a marvel to look at, no matter how artistic the students who painted it were. (P.S. Here’s a fun Michigan Daily article I found about how much paint might be resting on top of The Rock.) I also happened to run into the latest artist, Samii Stoloff, on my way to take this photo, and she said she spent three hours painting this rock to spread love and not hate within the U-M community. If that’s not an example of incredible student art, I don’t know what is!

On top of all of these, there’s The Cube by the Union or The Wave Field on north campus. There are tons of other pieces to see around campus and I couldn’t possibly talk about all of them; however, if you want to know more about these pieces or explore some more art around campus, this University of Michigan page will tell you everything you could possibly wonder about art on campus. I’m sure you’ll find your own favorite pieces, but for now, at least you have some idea of how much art the University of Michigan campus really has to offer.

Katie
Katie FitzGibbons

Katie FitzGibbons is a junior in the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts double majoring in Anthropology and Film, Television, and Media. Katie is the Social Chair for Friends of the Campus Farm and spends a lot of her free time volunteering at local farms. She loves doing any activities outdoors, including hiking, camping, or just simply walking around campus. When not outside, you can usually find her crocheting or reading a good book.