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New Public Art Brings Message to Texas Tech Campus

Inspired by one of the earliest forms of communication, Artist David B. Hickman created five contemporary sculptures resembling messenger pigeons surrounded by ten limestone benches.

May 30, 2013 | Written by Jaryn Jones

The Messengers Located in the quad south of the College of Media & Communication Building, The Messengers is the first kinetic piece in the TTU System public art collection.

Texas Tech University System officials announced today (May 30) the latest installment to its system-wide public art collection, The Messengers, designed by artist David B. Hickman.

Hickman created a circular plaza located in the quad south of the College of Media and Communication Building (15th Street and Flint Avenue). The area contains five contemporary sculptures surrounded by ten limestone benches.

“My inspiration for this piece came from the different ways we communicate,” Hickman said. “The messenger pigeons go back to the earliest forms of communication, and the basic tools for human communication, our five senses, are represented on the tail of each sculpture.”

This is the first kinetic piece in the TTU System art collection. The five sculptures move with the wind, aligning like large weather vanes as the breeze changes directions.

“The addition of a kinetic sculpture signifies the University Public Art Committee’s effort to diversify and thereby strengthen the collection,” said Erin Vaden, TTU System Public Art Manager. “These sculptures also represent the artist’s conscious attempt to produce something that would thrive in Lubbock’s windy conditions, rather than be harmed by them.”

David Hickmano David B. Hickman, of Dallas, commissioned The Messengers on Texas Tech's campus.

The limestone benches are arranged in two circles surrounding the sculptures, with each bench of the outer ring engraved with one word to complete the sentence “Think About How You Communicate.”

“The benches encourage you to not only think about the various ways we communicate – the five senses – but to also consider the impact of your words,” Hickman said.

As part of the TTU System’s Public Art Program, this artwork was commissioned using funds from the renovation of the former Rawls College of Business Administration building, which now houses the College of Media and Communication.

“Campus art enriches experiences and memories for students,” Hickman said. “I hope the area will serve as a landmark students remember as they look back on their time at Texas Tech.”

A native Texan, Hickman served on the Board of Directors of the Texas Sculpture Association for three years and the board of the Dallas Visual Arts Center for six years. He was selected by the Texas Commission on the Arts as the Texas State Artist Three-Dimensional category for the year 2004 and was selected by the Dallas Chapter of the American Institute of Architects as Artist of the Year in 2005.

The TTU System’s Public Art Program was initiated by the Board of Regents in 1998 as an investment in the campus environments at each of its institutions. Through the program, public artworks are funded using one percent of the estimated total cost of each new major capital project. Since then, 88 items created by some of today’s leading artists have been added to the TTU System’s campuses.

About the Texas Tech University System
The Texas Tech University System is one of the top public university systems in the state of Texas, consisting of four component institutions and operating at 12 academic sites and centers.  Headquartered in Lubbock, Texas, the TTU System has an annual operating budget of $1.5 billion and approximately 17,000 employees focused on advancing higher education, health care, research and outreach.

In 2012, total research expenditures approached $200 million and total enrollment exceeded 43,700 students for the first time in the TTU System’s history. Whether it’s contributing billions of dollars annually in economic impact or being the only system in Texas to house an academic institution, law school, and medical school at the same location, the TTU System continues to prove that anything is possible.