“Milwaukee” (1989) was created by George Greenamyer specifically for the northwest entrance area to the UWM Golda Meir Library. Standing 18′ high, 5′ wide, and 20′ long, this work draws upon landmarks and significant images relating to the city’s heritage and contemporary identity. The figurative elements are hot-forged or blacksmithed and painted with gloss enamels. The I-beam on which they are placed is supported by three steel arches.

Greenamyer (b. 1939) said about the work, “As a New Englander, I was impressed by your city on an inland sea. I pictured a cross section of the city, looking from the water to the interior. To some, Wisconsin is dairy country, so I used agricultural symbols of rural activity: a farm couple, a cow, and the mailman delivering mail to a typical midwestern farmhouse. In the city are houses typical of those built by the early German and Polish immigrants. Next, a painter touches up the mullions on City Hall, with the ‘downtown folks’ nearby, and a businessman and businesswoman wait outside the First Wisconsin Center. A workman holds a shovel on top of a grain elevator, and a seaman stands on duty aboard a Great Lakes freighter. At the breakwater is the Milwaukee harbor lighthouse and a lighthouse keeper.”

Born in Cleveland, Ohio, Greenamyer received a BFA in dimensional design from the Philadelphia College of Art and an MFA in sculpture from the University of Kansas. He taught at the Massachusetts College of Art and was appointed Research Fellow at the Center for Advanced Visual Studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1979. He has lectured and exhibited nationally and has been awarded commissions in nearly every state through “one percent” programs.

“Milwaukee” was commissioned under Wisconsin’s Percent for Art Program which provided 2/10 of one percent of the total construction cost of state funded buildings for the selection of artwork. For this specific project, $21,400 was made available to the artist for the design, fabrication, transportation of the artwork to the site, and installation.

Three Bronze Discs

‘Three Bronze Discs,” a sculpture by James Wines (b. 1932), was placed in the courtyard reflecting pool of the new UWM Library on May 10, 1967. The intricately designed abstract forms measure 10, 8, and 5 feet in diameter, respectively, with largest weighing over a ton. Commissioned by Fitzhugh Scott Architects through the Marlborough-Gerson Galleries in New York, the work was initially sculpted in plaster and the molds were then sent to Rome for casting at the Nicci Foundry.

The sculpture represented the third major commission within a period of two years for the young sculptor who received his Fine Arts degree from the University of Syracuse in 1956.

Explaining the forms, Wines referred to them as “geometric units designed in answer to the building’s sharp, angular feeling.” He said it was placed “to pick up the vocabulary of the building,” contrasting interplay of curved and linear relationships.

A native of Chicago, Wines’ work is represented in several museums and galleries across the country, including the Art Institute of Chicago and the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis.