At the close of the spring 2020 semester, Bemidji State University commissioned Minneapolis-based artist Stacia Goodman to install a tile mosaic at the entrance of the new Hagg-Sauer Hall.
After months of hand-cutting thousands of pieces of material, Goodman and her team spent nearly three days unloading, staging and installing the mosaic.
The mosaic, meant to represent life at Bemidji State, is dedicated to the graduating class of 2020 to embody their perseverance throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Goodman asked 2020 graduates to submit words they would use to describe their time at BSU and incorporated them into the mosaic.
She also reached out to faculty and staff for campus donations to be used in the mosaic’s construction. Items include hockey sticks, golf clubs, bobbers, fishing poles, coffee cups, canoe paddles and skis.
During her research for this project, Goodman was inspired by the roles that indigenous people have played and continue to play in the Bemidji region. Through this inspiration, she sought words and artifacts to include in the mosaic that reflected Bemidji State’s place on traditional Ojibwe and Dakota land.
“I begin every public art project by doing historical research, which led me to more deeply understand — and respect — the role of Native people in settling this area and the modern presence they have today,” she said.
The mosaic was funded through the Minnesota Percent for Art in Public Places program, which is a legislated component of state public building projects. The program acquires works of art to be exhibited in and around state buildings in areas regularly accessible to the general public. Percent for Art purchases existing work or commissions artists to create new work especially for the state building or site.
Artwork is purchased with funds provided by Minnesota’s 1984 “Percent for Art” legislation, which encourages state building projects with construction or renovation budgets of $500,000 or more to use up to one percent of the total construction budget to purchase or commission original artwork for the site.
“I hope the mural will delight students and staff every time they walk into the new building,” Goodman said. “But on a deeper level, I want the art to educate people on BSU’s origins and remind them of its hopeful future. Northern Minnesota folks are a resilient bunch.”
Other artwork funded through the “Percent for Art” legislation includes Bemidji State’s “In Flight,” the fountain sculpture between Sattgast and Memorial Halls and “Northscape,” the sculpture garden located in the front of Memorial Hall.
Minnesota’s Percent for Art in Public Places program is one of 26 state public art programs around the country that commissions work to enliven our shared public spaces and provide opportunities for artists. More than 130 art installations have been completed in the state of Percent for Art program.
About Stacia Goodman
Goodman is a self-taught artist and storyteller who uses stone, tile, glass, or other materials to create mosaic art. Based out of Minneapolis, Goodman’s art relies heavily on glass, reflective mirrors, hand-made and up-cycled site-specific objects.
- Travis Barnes, director of facilities; firstname.lastname@example.org