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NMSU creates a Public Art Committee to develop a master plan for art on campus

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Murals painted during the 1930s, massive sculptures and even a giant clock are among the treasures on display for all to see at New Mexico State University. By next year, these pieces will be written into the university's master plan, which documents all facilities on campus.

University Art Museum Director Marisa Sage and University Architect Heather Watenpaugh joined together in 2020 to invite members of the community to serve on a public art committee. The committee, which includes 13 members including spots for two students, is taking on the task of writing the NMSU Public Art Master Plan.

"We expect to take the document to the NMSU Board of Regents to adopt as an appendix to the 2017-2027 Campus Master Plan at the end of Spring 2023, depending on staffing and workloads," Watenpaugh said.

"A high priority for the committee is to provide improved signage for each work in order to engage campus and community constituents," Sage said. "We want to acknowledge campus and regional history with important context for viewers, as well as to keep information about each work and artist current as the campus landscape continues to evolve."

The committee aims to address all current public artworks and will make recommendations on past, present, and future public art projects across the NMSU system. The committee also will identify, assess and prioritize artworks that are problematic to define processes to address both existent works and future art proposals.

"The Public Art Committee includes experts and rotating specialists in art, history, contemporary culture, diversity and archives to advise on the development and implementation of formal public art works, texts, policies and guidelines for the campus system," Sage said. "The work of the committee will be informed by ongoing conversations with diverse campus stakeholders and welcomes the input of students, staff, faculty and community members."

Anyone interested in learning more about the committee and its work can contact the University Architect's Office or the UAM.