3 new walking trails showcase UAB’s outdoor public art collection

  • The West Campus/Alys Stephens Center trail features Rosette Bobbin by Vaughn Randall, a large cast-iron sculpture installed in 2006.

    Visit the UAB Reporter's custom Google Map to see more.
  • The Central Campus trail takes walkers by Strata by Ted Metz, made of cast iron, aluminum and asphalt and installed in the early 1990s.

    Visit the UAB Reporter's custom Google Map to see more.
  • The East Campus trail features UAB Callahan Eye Hospital's Complex Vision by Yaacov Agam, a kinetic mural that has been with UAB since 1969.

    Visit the UAB Reporter's custom Google Map to see more.

UAB’s campus is home to more than 35 statues or sculptures, housed behind residence halls, in green spaces, by libraries and in the Mini Park, among other places. Many are works by well-known artists, like Italian sculptor Giuseppe Moretti, creator of Birmingham’s famous Vulcan statue, and Frank Stella, Brad Morton and Be Gardiner.

This spring, walk one of three two-mile trails to glimpse some of the beautiful outdoor public art on UAB’s campus. Each trail takes about 30 minutes to walk — perfect for a cool morning before work, during the lunch hour with co-workers or after hours while waiting for traffic to die down.

An urban outdoor gallery
It was Sam Barker, Ph.D., the first dean of The Graduate School and longtime patron of the arts in Birmingham, who funded, commissioned and oversaw the addition of many of the public works of art on UAB's campus from the 1970s to the 1990s. Several more sculptures are products of an endowment Barker left to help artists complete and install works on campus.

“Outdoor sculpture fills a niche that we museums cannot: 24/7 visibility and availability,” said Christina McClellan, registrar for collections, exhibitions and programs at UAB’s Abroms-Engel Institute for the Visual Arts.

“You may never have time to walk into AEIVA — though we hope you have a chance to visit — but outdoor sculpture can provide you with that momentary break in your day and retreat from your thoughts; a chance to be inspired or a chance to learn something about our university’s history. Outdoor sculpture can break up the sometimes-monotonous rhythms of life and add to the vibrant energy that pulses through our campus, our city and our community,” McClellan said.

Get started
First, choose a trail:

Each trail is about two miles long and takes around 30 minutes to walk.

  • The West Campus/Alys Stephens Center trail focuses on statues and sculptures located near the Collat School of Business, the Humanities Building and Alys Stephens Center, which is home to several sculptures.
  • The Central Campus trail takes walkers by Mervyn Sterne Library, near dormitories, around the Campus Green, past the Hill Student Center and through the Mini Park.
  • The East Campus trail focuses on art by Old Hillman, Callahan Eye Hospital, ArtPlay in Five Points and the east side of the Campus Green.

The trails can be viewed on a specialized Google Map, created by the UAB Reporter with help from the Office of Risk Management and the Abroms-Engel Institute for the Visual Arts.

The Google Map provides a general path around or nearby the art, intersecting with some directly but not all — walkers should keep an eye on the map to see if they are approaching any that may be hard to see or not immediately visible. Pictures are provided at each map pin so walkers can identify the sculpture along the trail.

“Outdoor sculpture can provide you with that momentary break in your day and retreat from your thoughts.”

Artwork marked by a green pin signifies the name and sculptor of the piece if known, which is true for more than three-fourths of UAB’s outdoor public works of art; however, some have been lost or forgotten over time, and these pieces are marked by gray pins.

If you know the name or artist behind any of the pieces marked in gray on the map, email reporter@uab.edu.