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IU Northwest to unveil new Sculpture Garden

Anticipated to be one of the largest permanent public art exhibits in northwest Indiana, on Sat., Jun. 24 Indiana University Northwest will officially unveil its newest cultural focal point, the Sculpture Garden entitled ‘Shadows and Echoes’ during a private reception at IU Northwest.

Artist Neil Goodman and landscape architect Cynthia Owen-Bergland collaborated on the garden, bringing their combined visions to fruition through several sculptures, a garden and a reflection pool. The Sculpture Garden is just one of several locations on campus that uses sculpture or art as a way to enhance the campus climate and to encourage abstract thinking and conversation.

Shadows and Echoes Sculpture Garden closely reflects the culture and ecology of northwest Indiana: an industrial landscape at the eastern edge of the tall grass prairie. Hailed as one of largest public art projects in the region, the collaboration of sculpture and landscape architecture pay tribute to the environment that surrounds the area and the industrial influences of the region. This investment in the cultural aspect of the university will impact the aesthetic value and cultural diversification of the campus climate.

The garden fulfills some of the major goals of IU Northwest’s long-range strategic plan for the campus—enhancing cultural discovery, particularly with respect to the region, and improving the aesthetic identity of the campus,” states IU Northwest Chancellor Bruce Bergland.

The sculpture work frames the landscape with elegant, hand-carved metal lines outlining a three-dimensional space. The sculptures, for Goodman, act as “a lens: lines moving through space that charge the landscape like lightning, a great theater.” And these “lenses” are as much designed to call attention to the space around them—the environment, topography, and visual language of the region—as to themselves.

Artist Neil Goodman states, “More than just courses, a university should offer students examples of the culture and art of their own time, not just appropriated, overly familiar images, but a challenging artistic language to encounter as they walk through campus.”

Goodman’s work is intimately linked to the northwest Indiana region, where he has lived and worked through most of his life. He has been a professor of art at IU Northwest since 1979. Having established himself in the Chicago area art community as an artist and teacher, his work has been exhibited and reviewed frequently, and has included significant public and private commissions through out the country. His most visible public work include a monumental wall relief at the Chicago McCormick Place South Pavilion and a permanent, large-scale bronze installation at the Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art at Northwestern University.

“As an artist and area native, I have been greatly influenced by the industrial rustbelt topography of northwest Indiana. I have often marveled at the fantastic and uniquely sculptural shapes of many of the mills, bridges, barges, and cranes indigenous to the area. My work is both a reflection of my environment as well as a visual link to it. My interest in locating this body of work in northwest Indiana seems pertinent to both the aesthetic quality of the images as well as its influences,” stated Goodman.

The landscape portion of the design is meant to complement the sculptures while creating a serene and simple backdrop reflective of the ecological heritage of our region. Landscape architect Cynthia Owen-Bergland states, “It is my intent that the grasses and flowers in this garden reflect the spirit of place of the disappearing Savannas, and that the fountain and boulders remind us of our ties to the ice and water that created the land here.” An integral part of the whole project. “The garden,” explains Owen-Bergland “represents the ecological heritage of northwest Indiana. The tall grasses, six feet high in planters reflect the region’s place on the eastern edge of the tall grass prairie. And a fountain with boulders is a reference to the retreat of a glacier to Lake Michigan, which left boulders in its wake. This backdrop representing the native prairie will complement the industrial vision of the sculptures.”

Owen-Bergland has more than ten years of experience as a practicing landscape architect and received her Master of Landscape Architecture degree from the University of Colorado. Her design experience includes six years in the public sector as a project manager for several large-scale public works projects. She specializes in unique, environmentally conscious designs utilizing native plant materials and possesses eight years experience as a practicing landscape architect.

For more information, please contact Cathy Tallos at 219-980-6801 or email



Media Contact:

Michelle Searer

Photo by Chris Meyer, IU Home Pages

Photo by Michael Chaseley
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