Arts & Culture

UWF hosts STEAM public art installation exhibition

The University of West Florida is one step closer to installing permanent sculptures on the Pensacola campus as part of a presidential initiative to commission a landmark work of public art that embodies science, technology, engineering, art and math.

The STEAM Public Art Exhibition, originating from one of the initiatives of the Reubin O’D. Askew Institute for Multidisciplinary Studies, displays graphic posters designed by the project’s semifinalists at Voices of Pensacola Multicultural Center in downtown Pensacola now through Sept. 23.  The exhibition portrays the concepts and ideas for the larger artwork and includes a participatory component where visitors can post their feedback and commentary on a public idea board that will be reviewed by the selection committee as they decide the winner(s).

“Science, technology, engineering and math have become a major part of higher education over the years,” said UWF President Martha D. Saunders. “We now see that we need to include art to the mix. Artists have a different way of viewing the world and when we bring them together with the traditional STEM fields, our faculty and students approach projects in different ways. The STEAM art installation will give us a visible and interactive way for our campus to see how science meets art.”

Over the summer, UWF submitted a call to artists for the production of public art with a STEAM emphasis. With a budget of $500,000 for this initiative to be split among the finalists, more than 120 proposals were received from artists across the U.S. and internationally from Australia, Spain and Poland. From those proposals, 10 semifinalists were selected.

“A goal of the Askew Institute is to increase the visibility and interaction between the STEAM disciplines by creating a hub for students and faculty to combine the humanities and sciences work on innovative community projects,” said Dr. Wade Jeffery, director of Reubin O’D. Askew Institute of Multidisciplinary Studies. “These art installations will be a strong visual representation of that connection.”

The sculptures will highlight the potential for collaboration across disciplines and stimulate thinking on multidisciplinary work, particularly in the arts and sciences. They will also visually link to their proposed sites on campus, which are outdoor locations across the street from each other near the Center for Fine and Performing Arts and the Hal Marcus College of Science and Engineering.

In October, the committee will select the finalists, with the goal of the sculptures being installed by the end of April 2019. The awarded artist(s) will be on campus for installation and will participate in public programming, interaction with students and professional development and networking opportunities for students and faculty.

For more information about the Reubin O’D. Askew Institute for Multidisciplinary Studies and STEAM, visit