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Mathews-Sanders Sculpture Garden Biennial Exhibition of Models
August 23, 2019 @ 8:00 am - 5:00 pm
|Delta State University’s Fielding Wright Art Center Gallery will be hosting an exhibition of sketches and maquettes for the work featured in this year’s Mathews-Sanders Sculpture Biennial. The Mathews-Sanders Sculpture Garden has become the pride of the local art community and a favorite tourist destination. Its reach has expanded from the area in front of the Bologna Performing Arts Center to the grounds of the Grammy Museum and to downtown Cleveland. The 2019 biennial exhibition was installed at the beginning of August before the return of students and faculty. To offer our community insight into the work that goes into creating the work and organizing the sculpture biennial and to celebrate the sculpture garden’s contribution to our community, the DSU’s art department has curated an exhibition of sketches and models for the work in the biennial. A public opening reception will be held on August 22 from 5:00 to 7:00 pm in the Fielding Wright Art Center Gallery on DSU’s campus. Nan Sanders who is the driving force behind the Mathews-Sanders Sculpture Garden will briefly talk about the idea and the history of the project at the opening.
The idea for Delta State University’s Mathews-Sanders Sculpture Garden was conceived by Pam Mathews, an artist and then Delta State University’s First Lady. She envisioned a biennial sculpture competition which would bring 10 new pieces to campus every other year. At the end of the two-year period, one of the works would be purchased to become a permanent feature on the DSU campus. Her dream was to set up a way of developing a noteworthy collection of public art that would make the campus of Delta State unique. Mrs. Mathews contacted her friend and fellow artist, Nan Sanders, to discuss her idea for a sculpture garden at DSU and in 2000 the first sculpture biennial took place on our campus.
Sadly, Mrs. Mathews passed away in 2002 shortly after the second sculpture biennial took place. Since then, her friend Nan Sanders has worked tirelessly to realize Pam’s vision. Due to Mrs. Sander’s efforts and the generosity of many people throughout the years, Delta State now has a permanent collection which numbers 30 pieces. Pieces from the permanent collection have been installed throughout campus while the current competition pieces can be found in the formal garden in front of the BPAC. With the opening of the GRAMMY® Museum Mississippi in 2016, the Sculpture Garden has expanded its footprint to the grounds of the museum which features sculpture that has musical themes or references. Since 2017, part of the sculpture biennial exhibition has been installed on the green in downtown Cleveland.
In 2018, the Sculpture Garden was re-named Mathews-Sanders Sculpture Garden to pay homage to Pam Mathews, whose vision created the garden, and to Nan Sanders, whose family has supported the development of her vision after Pam’s untimely death.