Montana State University

The role of public art explored at President’s Fine Arts roundtable on April 11

April 5, 2017 -- MSU News

MSU architecture instructor Tad Bradley's 25-panel fused glass installation graces the second floor of Gaines Hall. Bradley is one of four artists and designers working in varied mediums who will discuss the role of contemporary public art in Montana at a panel discussion moderated by MSU President Waded Cruzado on April 11. The event, which is part of the MSU College of Arts and Architecture's President Fine Arts series, is free and open to the public. Photo courtesy of College of Arts and Architecture.

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Tel: (406) 994-4571

Montana State University President Waded Cruzado will lead a roundtable discussion among four prominent artists about the roles of contemporary art in public spaces and on campus during an event scheduled at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 11, in MSU’s Reynolds Recital Hall.

The panel discussion, “Unleashed: Emerging Conversations about Public Art in the Big Sky,” is part of the MSU College of Arts and Architecture’s annual President’s Fine Arts Series and is free and open to the public.

Royce Smith, dean of the college, said that the event was planned in advance of the installation of public art in the new MSU parking garage and to initiate dialogues about how public art can enhance the university environment and the experiences within it.

“The new MSU parking garage attached to Norm Asbjornson Hall will serve as a special arts-focused welcome, as visitors experience unique sights and sounds from the moment they exit their cars,” Smith said.  “MSU’s new parking structure will host not only vehicles but new ways of thinking about space, creativity and expression.”

Smith said that during the roundtable, artists will focus on such questions such as how arts, architecture and creativity contribute to MSU’s growing campus in interactive, visible and innovative ways. He points out that public art “is the lifeblood of many prominent university campuses” across the country.

“What does it mean to have a university campus whose mission is, in part, to use art as a strong platform for new ideas and critical thinking?” Smith asked. He said the participants in the roundtable will include four “acclaimed artists, designers and performers who do their magic in the public realm.”

Panelists include:

Heath “Tad” Bradley is an architecturally trained designer who works in mediums of mixed-media sculptural installations, including a 25-panel fused glass installation on the second floor of Gaines Hall and a sculpture north of MSU’s Danforth Chapel. An architect who has worked in firms in Montana and Boston, Bradley also maintained a part-time job as a blacksmith apprentice at a local shop while teaching full time in the MSU School of Architecture. He has taught undergraduate and graduate courses focusing on fundamentals of design, architectural design, graphic design, psychological effects of space, graphic design, typography and the craft of fused glass.

Rick Griffith is the principal at MATTER, a design studio and typographic laboratory in Denver. MATTER’s works have been on exhibit at the Denver Art Museum and the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art and have been celebrated by the Type Directors Club, Print Magazine, Dwell and the AIGA 50 Books/50 Covers. His works are in the permanent collections of the Tweed Museum, the Denver Art Museum and the Butler Library of Rare Books and Manuscripts at Columbia University.

Matika Wilbur is a photographer who has exhibited extensively in regional, national and international venues such as the Seattle Art Museum, the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture, the Tacoma Art Museum, the Royal British Columbia Museum of Fine Arts and the Nantes Museum of Fine Arts in France. A Native American of the Swinomish and Tulalip Tribes, Wilbur is currently working on Project 562, a national documentary project dedicated to photographing contemporary Native America.

Marina Zumi is an Argentinian street artist and muralist whose work has been selected for installation in the MSU parking garage. Zumi is known for her serenity murals and sewn artwork inspired by her study of the quantum theory. Currently residing in San Paulo, Zumi’s independent and collaborative works appear on the streets and in gallery settings worldwide.

Reynolds Recital Hall is located inside Howard Hall, across the street from the MSU Duck Pond.

For more information, go to: or email

JoDee Palin (406) 994-6654,