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Oct. 17, 2017

MSU bridge features student’s artwork

Gavin Kata, a senior majoring in interior design at Michigan State University, was chosen by the Public Art on Campus Committee to have his artwork featured on the bridge between Spartan Stadium and the Main Library.

What originally started as an Infrastructure Planning and Facilities project to fix the bridge turned into a contest offered by the PAOCC and the Department of Art, Art History and Design.

Kata submitted his work, not expecting anything to come of it. He was surprised when he was notified  the PAOCC was going to use a portion of his design.

“It was kind of a whirlwind,” Kata said. “I didn’t really believe it at first.”

Stephen Troost, the campus planner for the PAOCC, said there was an interesting set of entries, which made the judging difficult.

The committee liked Kata’s piece in particular because it stood out from the rest of the entries.

“We were looking for panels, but he developed a series of panels, a whole story line,” Troost said. “There was an emotional response to the entire competition that I think grabbed the jurors’ attention.”

Aimee Brasseur, a graphic designer at Communications and Brand Strategy, helped to translate Kata’s work into something the fabricator could work with.

The team ran into some challenges with production. The original panels didn’t allow room for the bridge to flex, so Brasseur had to come up with a series of smaller panels.

Brasseur based the smaller panels off Kata’s design, but later found out they wouldn’t be sturdy enough and that she needed to redesign them.

“The look of it really changed,” Brasseur said. “It’s really been an interesting process to see how the student’s sketch evolved into the digital format and then how it evolved to meet the vendor’s needs, but then also the needs of the structure of the bridge.”

The process of creating and installing the panels took eight months. The contest closed in February, and the work on the bridge was completed this month. 

The contest was part of, and inspired by the Water Moves MSU thematic year.

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