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Tom Stancliffe

Tom Stancliffe with "Glean 1 and 2" At the Christian Petersen Art Museum

Monday, August 21 - Friday, December 15, 2023

Tom Stancliffe is a sculptor who lives outside Cedar Falls, Iowa and maintains a large studio there.  Although he works in a wide range of scales, he is best known for his large public sculptures of bronze or stainless steel that find expression in both the historical and contemporary contexts of a given site.  He has completed over thirty commissioned works for public art collections nationally and was a former Professor of Art at the University of Northern Iowa (UNI) from 1988 to 2020. There, he also directed the Public Art Incubator at UNI, which he dedicated years of his career building up. The Public Art Incubator continues to teach students in the processes of creating public art and conserving works of art to be enjoyed for years to come. Stancliffe’s first encounter with University Museums was in 1986 when he assisted artist Bruce White with the sculpture Carom. Since 1994, Stancliffe has been a significant contributor to the Art on Campus Collection at ISU. Sculptures such as Glean I and II were designed and created by Stancliffe, while others were designed by fellow artists and fabricated by Stancliffe, often via the Public Art Incubator. Stancliffe has also conserved four sculptures in the Art on Campus Collection at ISU.

Two exhibitions related to Stancliffe's studio practice and his work in public art will be on exhibition at the Christian Petersen Art Museum. Drift is an exhibition made up of individual works of art; to truly grasp the overarching concept, the fifteen sculpted paintings should be experienced collectively along with the newly created sculpture installation Ghost Trees just outside in the Anderson Sculpture Garden and viewable from the Christian Petersen Art Museum. Together, the art acknowledges change as a constant in the world: societal order as climate changes, shifts in politics, and altering the Iowa landscape to produce crops displacing the understood order within landscape and society. Art of Fabrication explores the process of commissioning public works of art from the perspective of University Museums, the intricacies of public artists working with the campus community, and building collaborative relationships to care for the Art on Campus Collection; all in connection with Stancliffe’s art.

Public art is one of the fundamental values of the Christian Petersen Art Museum, named after the nation’s first permanent artist-in-residence who sculpted and taught at ISU. Because of its namesake and his contribution to the public art world, including Petersen founding ISU’s Art on Campus Collection, this museum showcases public artists like Tom Stancliffe who have a connection to the Art on Campus Collection.


Click a button below to visit the exhibition pages and learn more.


Campbell Gallery

1017 Morrill Hall

Art of Fabrication

Reiman Gallery

0003 Morrill Hall, lower level

Ghost Trees

Anderson Sculpture Garden

603 Morrill Road

Exhibition Programs

Find full descriptions of programs on the University Museums Calendar. All programs are free and open to the public. Registration is encouraged but not required. Click the event title for more information and/or to register. Events listed below will be at the Christian Petersen Art Museum (Morrill Hall, 603 Morrill Road, Ames, Iowa) unless otherwise noted. Programs are subject to change. Check the University Museums Calendar and Facebook page for the latest events information.


Curator's Tour of Art of Fabrication
with Sydney Marshall

Tuesday, August 22, 4:30 PM - 5:30 PM
Reiman Gallery, Morrill Hall lower level

Curator Sydney Marshall will lead a tour of the new installation Ghost Trees in the Anderson Sculpture Garden by artist Tom Stancliffe, as well as explore the artist’s connections to the larger Art on Campus Collection with a look at the exhibition Art of Fabrication.


Art Walk: Installation and Environment
led by docent Steve Petska

Wednesday, August 30, noon - 1:00 PM
Begins outside Student Services Building, 2505 Union Dr.

Join University Museums for an Art Walk centering around large-scale public art and environmental installation. In partnership with the exhibition Tom Stancliffe: Drift, visit outdoor installations that meaningfully interact with the environment.


Artist Talk and Opening Reception | Tom Stancliffe

Thursday, September 14, 5:30 PM - 7:30 PM
Campbell Gallery, Morrill Hall first floor

Join University Museums and Tom Stancliffe for an artist-led gallery walk at 5:30 of the exhibition Tom Stancliffe: Drift. Stancliffe will discuss his studio practice, and the themes found within the works of art. Stay for refreshments and an opening reception of the exhibition at 6:30.


Date Night at the Christian Petersen Art Museum

Friday, September 22, 5:00 PM - 7:00 PM
Campbell & Reiman Galleries, Morrill Hall first floor & lower level

Tired of the same old date nights? University Museums has you covered with free food, crafts, and art for a fun unique night. In partnership with the ISU Bookstore, all visitors will get a coupon for the ISU Bookstore and can enter for a chance to win some ISU art!


A Bug's Eye View of Tom Stancliffe's Ghost Trees
with Dr. Laura Iles

Tuesday, October 3, 4:00 PM - 5:00 PM 
Anderson Sculpture Garden

View the new installation in the Anderson Sculpture Garden with a different perspective on this tour with Dr. Laura Iles, director of the North Central Integrated Pest Management Center. Explore the intricate relationships between insects and forests, as well as how human influence on the environment affects this relationship.


Family Weekend Open House

Saturday & Sunday, October 14 & 15, 1:00 PM - 4:00 PM each day
Campbell & Reiman Galleries, Morrill Hall first floor & lower level

The Christian Petersen Art Museum and the Farm House Museum will be open for Cyclone Family Weekend!


Shifting Bodies, Displacement in Nature | Drift Through Dance

Thursday, October 19, 5:30 PM - 6:30 PM 
Campbell Gallery, Morrill Hall first floor

Experience a different kind of museum visit as you are introduced to works of art through the lens of dancers. This evening will feature performances of original dance compositions under the direction of Kinesiology faculty member Cynthia Adams. Dance 220 Choreography students and Orchesis I dancers will present choreography inspired by their semester of close investigation and interpretation of the themes and works of art from the exhibition Tom Stancliffe: Drift.


Curator's Tour of Tom Stancliffe: Drift
with Sydney Marshall

Thursday, November 9, 4:30 PM - 5:30 PM
Campbell Gallery, Morrill Hall first floor

Learn about Tom Stancliffe's unique method of using patina on metal to create the images on the metal sculptures installed in the exhibition.


Public Art as Process: Virtual Panel Discussion

Thursday, November 16, noon - 1:00 PM
Virtual on Zoom (link)

In connection with the exhibition Art of Fabrication in the Christian Petersen Art Museum, the layered processes behind the life of a work of public art will be explored in this Zoom panel discussion with Sydney Marshall, Dan Perry, and Reinaldo Correa.

Visit the Christian Petersen Art Museum

Hours: Monday-Friday, 10:00 am - 4:00 pm
Closed weekends and University Holidays & breaks

Address: 1017 & 0003 Morrill Hall, 603 Morrill Road, Ames, Iowa
Admission: The cost is free, however there is a suggested donation of $8.

These exhibitions are curated by University Museums with support from Rachel Flint and University Museums membership.  

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