Date: November 21, 2008
Contact: Eric Matanyi
Governors State University
Phone: (708) 534-4044
Fax: (708) 534-8399
For Immediate Release
University Park, IL, November 21, 2008 – The Nathan Manilow Sculpture Park at Governors State University recently celebrated the dedication of “Sextant Yoke” by artist Mike Baur of West Chicago.
The sculpture dedication was made possible by Lila Thorpe’s donation to the park in honor of her husband Dr. James Harvey Hensley, who passed away in 2001. Dr. Hensley was a well respected professor of astronomy at Governors State University for twenty years.
“Jim was a big fan of both GSU and artist Mike Baur, which makes this dedication a fitting tribute to him,” said Lila Thorpe. “I remember how he would come home from a full day at his primary job only to be re-energized by the prospect of teaching evening classes at GSU.”
Baur’s sculpture was the perfect choice to commemorate the astronomy professor. “Sextant Yoke” directs the viewer's attention to its association with the astronomical measuring device used by mariners to find their position on the ocean. The sculpture was created from pieces of used or abandoned construction materials. “I mine for all my materials,” noted Baur. “One piece of sculpture leads to another piece. My work is an additive process, more constructed than molded.”
Park staff, university representatives, and members of the community attended the event celebrating art, education, and Dr. Hensley’s life. University President Elaine P. Maimon and Sculpture Park Director Geoffrey Bates discussed the sculpture and the recent renaissance of the sculpture park before unveiling a new sign describing the artwork and denoting the donation.
After the short dedication, the group commemorated Hensley’s love of astronomy by retreating to a darker area on campus to take in the evening’s starry sky. Those in attendance gazed through the university’s new telescope, featuring computerized star mapping and real-time image projection of the night sky on the side of a building.
Dr. Karen D’Arcy, chair of GSU’s Division of Science recalled Dr. Hensley’s significant contributions to the university’s science department. “Harvey laid the groundwork for the current astronomy curriculum. Many of his students use his concepts in their own classrooms today. This sculpture serves as a wonderful reminder of his work at GSU.”
The Nathan Manilow Sculpture Park is home to 26 sculptures, many by internationally recognized artists, on more than 100 acres of prairie and woodland. Each piece is accessible by paths that weave over the grounds connecting one unique work of art with another. The park is open year round from dawn to dusk. It is located at Governors State University, 1 University Parkway, University Park, Illinois. For more information or to volunteer, call (708) 534-4486 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.