Newest Addition to Texas Tech Public Art Collection Honors Pioneering Women in Higher Educaiton

'The Way West' alludes to the pioneering spirit that drives successful learning environments.

DATE: July 6, 2007
CONTACT: Sally Logue Post,
(806) 742-2136

Newest Addition to University Public Art Collection
Honors Pioneering Women in Higher Education

The newest addition to the Texas Tech University Public Art Collection is a bronze sculpture titled "The Way West."

The work, by John Buck, is located at the corner of Akron Avenue and Main Street near the Bledsoe, Gordon, Sneed residence halls.

"The words ‘the way west’ often imply a sense of adventure and delight for challenges," said Cecilia Carter Browne, public art director for the Texas Tech University System. "The title alludes to the pioneering spirit that drives successful learning environments and their encouragement of progress in uncharted directions."

Buck’s work is held in major public and private collections including the Museum of Modern Art, New York City and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

The female form that is central to this work honors the collective strength of women engaged with higher education. A group of symbols that rise above the figure’s shoulders emphasize the workings of her mind rather than her physical features. The symbols represent core concepts of both life and learning: a lattice-like structure reminiscent of DNA, a series of architectural orbs and cones, a flickering form illuminating the way to knowledge, and, at the apex, an eye-like sphere seeking undiscovered paths.

The sculpture was carved from wood, then molded, cast in bronze and treated with a patina to withstand outdoor environments.

"The Way West" is one of 85 pieces of public art displayed across the Texas Tech university campus. Texas Tech has been ranked one of the top 10 university public art collections in the country. Texas Tech's Public Art Program is funded through what is known as a percent-for-art funding structure. The university allocates 1 percent of the estimated total cost of each new construction project and each repair and rehabilitation project that exceeds $500,000 for the acquisition of public art. An additional 1 percent is set aside for landscape enhancements.

"The Way West," like all works of art acquired for Texas Tech University’s Public Art Collection, was selected by committees made up of students, faculty, staff, alumni, and the community. The work was purchased as part of the Bledsoe-Gordon-Sneed residence hall life safety upgrade construction.