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Bachner Sculpture Collection

About the Collection

Shepherd University’s campus has been greatly enhanced through the John and Patty Bachner Sculpture Collection.  The three large, outdoor sculptures were donated from the Bachners’ private collection and installed in the summer of 2015.  A fourth sculpture is currently in the process of being restored.   “One of the things that public sculpture does is translate the difference between an institution and a community,”  said Mr. Bachner.  “The placement of sculptures on Shepherd’s campus represents a willingness to consider the abstract and an open approach to intellectualism and understanding.  The works are interpretive and are being placed in a manner that compliments the natural and historical beauty of Shepherd’s campus. ”

Harold “Skip” Van Houten

Three of the sculptures are the work of Harold “Skip” Van Houten.  Two are made of stacked stone and metal.  One of them, called “Uplift,” is in front of the Scarborough Library.  Another, a large round metal wheel encasing stacked stone called “Flat Rocks Roll,” is located on West Campus Drive in front of Shaw Hall.  A third Van Houten, “Inside Axis,” is made of cement, iron, and block.  It will be restored and placed near the Center for Contemporary Arts.  Van Houten is a Danbury, Connecticut, native who taught for 24 years at the University of Southern Mississippi and founded that school’s sculpture program.  Van Houten has said, “I have always believed that public sculpture should be both lyrical and serious.  Ideally, it should offer hope and provide something for the viewer’s imagination to play with. Art for me has to be fun.”

Michael Bigger

The fourth sculpture is the work of Michael Bigger, a Waukegan, Illinois, native who taught more than 20 years at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design.  Bigger died in 2011 and was known as a “sculptor’s sculptor,” who was fearless in his creation of large-scale works.  His large metal creation painted red and yellow sits in front of the Robert C. Byrd Center for Legislative Studies.

Sculptures in the Collection

Harold “Skip” Van Houten, Flat Rocks Roll, 1988

Harold “Skip” Van Houten, Uplift, 1983

Michael Bigger, Polychrome Sculpture, Late 20th Century

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