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April 22, 2022

New campus sculpture created by studio art alumnus

A new sculpture by studio art alumnus Richard Tanner, unveiled at Michigan State University’s campus last fall, invites viewers to reflect on what it means to rise from the ashes and create new beginnings.

Called "The Phoenix" and located outside MSU’s Intramural East, the sculpture was two years in the making with the planning stages beginning in fall 2019. The original design was based on athletics, and over the course of its creation, its message of rising from the ashes gained an entirely new meaning. As the COVID-19 pandemic raged on and people around the world suffered the loss of loved ones, "The Phoenix" transformed into a beacon of hope.

"The Phoenix" sculpture created by Studio Art alumnus Richard Tanner and now located on MSU’s campus.

“It all started from the idea of sports, but it turned out to be a more universal thing, because it includes all of us, with the pandemic and the lockdowns and the deaths,” Tanner said. “I really hope that the sculpture gives people hope.”

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