3 walking trails show off UAB’s outdoor public art collection

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  • "Blaze" by Branko Medenica was installed in 2018. Find it in Blazer Pride Plaza by the Collat School of Business. STEVE WOOD / University Relations

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  • The Townhouse Park art installation, conceptualized by Deedee Morrison, was installed in 2020 next to the Administration Building. ANDREA MABRY / University Relations

  • "Complex Vision" by Yaacov Agam was installed in 1969 on the exterior of Callahan Eye HospitalANDREA MABRY / University Relations

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 Wellness Week, 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, a 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 walking

Choose a trail on this 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.

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.