Opus 88 sculpture to be unveiled

September 24, 2014
Opus 88 sculpture

PLATTEVILLE, Wis. — The University of Wisconsin-Platteville will unveil its “Opus 88” sculpture on Friday, Oct. 10 in the Center for the Arts at 4:30 p.m. The event will include a social with appetizers, a short program and a musical performance featuring UW-Platteville students Ella Caswell from Stockton, Ill., and Mitchell Guise from Davenport, Iowa, who will play the music of Sergei Rachmaninov, Frédéric Chopin and Scott Joplin.

The unique, 6-foot-wide, ceramic sculptural interpretation of a Steinway concert grand piano keyboard and mural was the result of a collaborative effort of two recent UW-Platteville graduates, Robert Jinkins from Rewey, Wis., and John O'Sullivan, from Stewartville, Minn., and UW-Platteville art lecturer Bruce Howdle, who is also the owner of Howdle Studios Inc., in Mineral Point, Wis.

Howdle was commissioned by the dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Education, Dr. Elizabeth A. Throop, to create the piece for the Center for the Arts as a way to acknowledge individuals who support the university's Steinway Fund. The Steinway Fund was developed by UW-Platteville’s College of LAE and the UW-Platteville Foundation to help raise financial support for the maintenance of the university’s new Steinway “D” concert grand piano, a handmade piano purchased at the Steinway and Sons factory in Astoria, Queens, N.Y., in January 2013.

The piano enriches every aspect of the university’s music program, from large performing ensembles such as the concert bands, orchestra, jazz bands and choirs to small chamber music collaborations and solo recitals.

The sculpture includes a keyboard, designed and created by Howdle, and a background collage of sheet music with portraits of prominent pianists Clara Schumann, Franz Liszt and Sergei Rachmaninov, sketched by Jinkins. O’Sullivan designed the layout of the mural’s background collage. Names of those who have donated to the Steinway Fund have been digitally printed and fired onto tiles that have been artistically and aesthetically incorporated into the sculpture.

“The music program at UW-Platteville continues to go from strength to strength, with increasing enrollments and an ever-widening pool of talent, both in terms of students and in terms of faculty,” said Throop. “The new Steinway has been, and will continue to be, used by talented students and instructional staff. The quality of the instrument is outstanding and the quality of the performances even better.”

Contact: Dr. Elizabeth A. Throop, dean, College of Liberal Arts and Education, (608) 342-1151

Written by: Laurie Hamer, College of Liberal Arts and Education, (608) 342-6191, hamerl@uwplatt.edu

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