Collaborative Art Project Addressing Climate Change to be Installed at Fourth and Washington

(BLOOMINGTON) – Bloomington Mayor John Hamilton will join a group of Indiana University design students to plant a tree to be part of a public art installation on Saturday, December 14, at 3 p.m. at the corner of Fourth and Washington Streets in Bloomington.

Working with the City’s Economic and Sustainability Department, students in the Comprehensive Design course in IU’s Eskenazi School of Art, Architecture, and Design produced a site-specific, functional art installation designed to capture aspirations toward a carbon-balanced Indiana.  

Titled Statera (Latin for “balance”), the installation features a steel sculpture wrapped around a live sapling. In developing the project, the students collected and analyzed data pertaining to climate, energy consumption, and forestry, and researched other public art projects addressing climate change.  The installation combines the practical purposes of supporting and protecting the newly planted tree, and capturing and directing rainwater toward it; while at the same time serving the symbolic function of representing the need for the natural environment to be supported and protected. 

In its scroll-like form, the sculpture suggests a timeline. In the first steel panel, the many openings represent the per capita CO2 output in Indiana in the year 2008. As the viewer follows the length of the piece, the openings progressively become less frequent and the wooden slats become increasingly dense — in keeping, respectively, with current and projected emissions trends and potential reforestation efforts. Using natural forms, the sculpture suggests a fluid timeline expressing Indiana’s past, present, and a vision for a carbon-balanced future.

“The City has been eager to activate overlooked sites with temporary public art while pursuing our sustainability goals,” said Assistant Director for the Arts Sean Starowitz.  “The Fourth and Washington site presents a great opportunity to demonstrate how public art created for a specific site can activate the urban landscape and raise attention to climate change and related issues.” 

The sculpture will be installed for a 12-month period, while the tree will remain.