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U’s Marriott Library to Build One-of-a-kind Sculpture Garden

Scale model of patio with green walls open.

Nov. 12, 2014 – Frank Lloyd Wright once said, “Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature. It will never fail you.” The University of Utah’s J. Willard Marriott Library, with a generous contribution from Katherine W. Dumke, will provide students with a bit of nature, right in the library.

Imagined as an outdoor space for study and exhibition of student and faculty artwork, the extraordinary gift from Dumke will allow the library to transform a courtyard into a two-level sculpture garden and study patio, located just off the Katherine W. Dumke Fine Arts & Architecture Library. It will be the only study space of its kind on the U’s campus. Construction will begin in May 2015 and is scheduled for completion in fall 2015.

“We’ll install retractable glass walls on the level two patio to create a beautiful, inviting space for reflection and study during the winter, while allowing for a truly outdoor experience during warmer months,” says Greg Hatch, head of the Dumke Fine Arts & Architecture Library. The space will also accommodate receptions and lectures.

The new venue will provide opportunities for artistic experimentation and will mimic the real-world expectations of professional exhibition environments. Students and faculty will have access to show work throughout the academic year. Community exhibitors will be able to display works during the summer months.

Sustainability is also a key focus of the project. Students enrolled in a fall 2014 Architectural Studio class are currently designing and sourcing innovative furniture built with sustainable materials for the patio and garden. In addition, “living walls” filled with low-light plants will provide natural partitions for patrons.

Thanks to Dumke’s gift, students will also have access to a new Materials Library Collection, which will offer hands-on access to hundreds of innovative physical materials – metals, fabrics, polymers, ceramics, natural resources – used in design, construction and manufacturing. This collection will support students and faculty in a wide range of disciplines, including multi-disciplinary design, sculpture and intermedia arts, theatre and materials science and engineering. The Marriott Library will be one of only a few public institutions in the U.S. to offer such a collection.

“We are so fortunate to have this extraordinary gift,” says Alberta Comer, dean of the Marriott Library and university librarian. “Mrs. Dumke’s generosity has allowed us to fulfill a vision for both the fine arts and architecture library space as well as provide a unique hands-on collection that students will use for real-world learning.”