UNI students create 2014 Special Olympics torch

It's not every day someone gets to see artwork they helped create, set on fire before tens of thousands of cheering spectators, athletes and coaches. But that is exactly what happened last weekend for a group of University of Northern Iowa students and faculty.

UNI's Public Art Incubator
 was asked to design and create the torch for the Special Olympics 2014 USA Games currently underway in New Jersey.  The 13-by-10 foot, 600-pound cauldron is based on a logo designed by one of the athletes and was produced in pieces to be carried in by athletes during the opening ceremony. This is the second time the Public Art Incubator has had the honor of creating the torch for the Special Olympics. 

Housed in the Kamerick Art Building at UNI, the incubator was designed to provide space for students and regional artists working on public art projects. Participating artists have access to excellent facilities as well as hands-on assistance from faculty and technical staff with a wealth of expertise.

"We also use it as a springboard for recent graduates who are trying to get their first commission and have a place to build it." -  Tom Stancliffe, UNI Department of Art professor

The incubator also provides front-end support for artists applying for commissions.  They receive assistance with proposal development, preliminary budgeting and introductions to local industries.

"It really does a disservice to students if they graduate with an art degree without any idea of how to use it in a way that they can earn a living. You can be an artist and have a career."  - Dan Perry, Public Art Incubator shop technician and UNI instructor

Over the past three years, eight artists have used the UNI Public Art Incubator to create 12 public art projects now on display across the United States and in the Bahamas at the Nassau International Airport.

UNI students create 2014 Special Olympics torch

News & Events

The 36th annual College Hill Arts Festival will be held June 20 - 21 on the UNI campus.  Named to Sunshine Artist magazine's list of 'Best Fine Arts & Design Shows' in the United States for four of the past five years, the festival features 75 juried artists selling jewelry, sculpture, painting, pastel, ceramics, graphics/printmaking, mixed media, fiber, photography, glass and wood.