Prospectus #194 Eastern New Mexico University Science Building

Commission Project Illumifusion by Robert Smart

Budget: $70,000

Eastern New Mexico University is a 4-year comprehensive university, founded in 1934, located on the edge of the Llano Estacado, the high plains of eastern New Mexico. The campus serves a diverse student body of approximately 4,050 students on the main campus—29% Hispanic, 5% African American, 3% Native American, about 57% Anglo. Popular majors among students are Education, Business, Biology, and Communicative Arts and Sciences. Strong programs in the arts are also a hallmark of the institution. The university focuses on excellent teaching and the support of student learning in all aspects of a student’s college experience.

Anchoring the east side of campus, the Science Building is a 1949-era 40,422 square foot facility that recently underwent a 30,672 renovation and a 9,750 square foot addition to the west (or campus) side of the building. The two-story, brick-clad building complements the campus style of dark brick with pre-cast concrete/stone accents at entrances and building corners. The Science Building has original custom frieze work at the east (main) entrance. The building’s main purpose is to provide high quality lecture and laboratory space for physics, chemistry, and biology instruction, and to make the building fully user- and learner-accessible.

New Mexico Arts and Eastern New Mexico University wish to commission and artwork for the newly renovated Science Building located on the University’s campus in Portales, New Mexico. The LSC seeks and artist able to create a large-scale project unifying the entire Science Building using elements from all branches of science.

Robert Smart from Minneapolis, MN was awarded the project. The artwork was installed in February 2011.

“Illumifusion” is a series of twelve hand-carved cell-cast acrylic relief panels with images derived from all branches of science. Smart collaborated with departmental heads of Physics, Chemistry, Biology and Geology to determine the final imagery to be employed on the panels. Individual panels are lit internally with LED strip lights and programmed to add subtle color transitions throughout the day. The panels are installed throughout the building but lighting transitions will take place from a single controller creating a unified composition.