Public Art

Stanford’s campus features more than 80 works of outdoor public art, accessible to the public 365 days a year.

New Installation: Stanford Columns by Beverly Pepper

Standing among the stately California oaks and walking paths at the outer edge of Stanford’s vast arboretum stands a new public artwork acquisition by Beverly Pepper (1922-2020). Installed last month across Lomita Drive from the Anderson Collection, The Stanford Columns, 2022, is a gift from the Fisher Family in honor of Doris Fisher, ’53, and her lifelong friendship with the artist.

Stanford Columns in the news:

New Installation: Hello by XU ZHEN ®

Hello, a large-scale outdoor sculpture by international artist XU ZHEN®, is the inaugural commission of the Stanford Plinth Project –  a new initiative modeled after the Fourth Plinth in London’s Trafalgar Square that will place a series of temporary, commissioned works of public art in the central Meyer Green location of campus. The Plinth Project is a key component of a new vision for public art on campus that engages with the university’s academic mission and reflects its dynamic spirit.

Column? Snake? Churro? Hear what students have to say about Hello and Stanford’s public art initiatives!

New installation: Pars Pro Toto by Alicja Kwade

Stanford commissioned international artist Alicja Kwade to create a site-specific work, titled Pars pro Toto, as a surprising and provocative addition to the Science and Engineering Quad. The work is composed of twelve dazzling stone spheres sourced from eight countries, ranging in size from a diminutive 16 inches to a colossal 98 inches.

Student Perspectives

"Tree of 40 Fruit"

Sam Van Aken's "Tree of 40 Fruit" is a single tree with the capacity to grow 40 different varieties of stone fruit including peaches, plums, apricots, nectarines, cherries, and almonds. Preserving heirloom and antique fruits, the Tree of 40 Fruit is artwork as a form of conservation, representing the agricultural and cultural history of California and Silicon Valley.

Narration: Andrew Catanese, MA '22 and Sam Van Aken

Film: Connor Lee O'Keefe, MFA '22, and Alexandra Stergiou, MFA '22

Gay Liberation

George Segal’s “Gay Liberation” commemorates the 1969 Stonewall rebellion that is often cited as the beginning of the modern gay rights movement. A casting on Stanford’s campus was installed in 1984, and today serves as a reminder that queer students at Stanford “have always been here and the presence of gay people on this campus has affected the Stanford community in a multitude of ways.”

Narration: Amir Abou-Jaoude, ‘20

Film: Connor Lee O’Keefe and Alexandra Stergiou, both MFA Documentary Film '22

 

Papua New Guinea Sculpture Garden

Created by artists from Papua New Guinea in 1994, the Papua New Guinea Sculpture Garden contains wood and stone carvings of people, animals, and magical beings that illustrate clan stories and creation myths.

Narration: Leonardo Lujan Orsini, '21
Film: Connor Lee O’Keefe and Alexandra Stergiou, both MFA Documentary Film '22

 

Cantor Collection

Learn more about the works of outdoor art in the collection of the Cantor Arts Center, including the Rodin Sculpture Garden, or join museum docents for a campus art walking tour.

Campus Public Art Proposals

Members of the Stanford community (students, faculty, and staff) can submit proposals for temporary public art projects on campus. Proposals are reviewed by the Office of the Vice President for the Arts.

Public Art Committee

Stanford’s Public Art Committee is responsible for overseeing a strategic plan for public art, including both outdoor art and art in public spaces of academic buildings and other campus facilities. The committee aims to make Stanford a destination for public art, drawing on the university’s unique natural and built environment, and to create an experience of creative vitality for all visitors to Stanford’s campus.