Campus has a new statue on the main quadrangle
By Carley Edwards
Let’s address the Mammoth on the main quadrangle at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign campus; As of last week, there is a 16-foot, 1300 pound Mammoth statue standing in front of the Natural History building.
About 30,000 years ago during the Pleistocene era, Mammoths roamed this exact era where the statue now stands.
This statue is part of the “Art in Architecture Program” which requires the state of Illinois to allocate funds towards art on campus during major construction projects.
This idea began in 2015 when Stephen Marshak, a retired professor in the Department of Earth Science and Environmental Change, and Fred Delcomyn, professor of Molecular & Integrative Physiology, suggested the mammoth because it reflects the heritage of the Natural History Building.
"We thought that choosing a mammoth would recognize both the geological background in the sense that the study of fossils is part of geology and also the biological background because it's a living organism," said Marshak.
This building, home for geology and biology, even once had a museum that contained casts of mammoth skulls for many years.
The statue was created not too far from campus at Taylor Studios, constructors of museum displays, in Rantoul, Illinois.
"The artists were just fantastic in terms of paying attention to scientific detail, yet at the same time creating sort of an artistic shape to it," according to Marshak.
The art piece has certainly not gone unnoticed. Many people have stopped by to take pictures in front of Mammoth. University tour guides are even pointing it out as they show incoming students around campus.
"I think it relates it's something that students relate to, the public relates to. I've seen a lot of people smiling as they walk past it," said Marshak.
Within the next couple of weeks, the area surrounding the Mammoth will be landscaped to become a “Pleistocene garden”. It will include plants that are related to the ones that would’ve been there when the mammoths first arrived in Champaign-Urbana.