University Sculpture Competition

Public art, education and community engagement are primary focus areas of Chesterfield Arts. We continue to build a major outdoor sculpture collection around Chesterfield, featuring work by regional and internationally acclaimed sculptors. Chesterfield Arts also presents education forums, tours, events and hands-on learning experiences, which educate others about accessible art in public spaces.

The University Sculpture Competition 2012-13

Presented by:


Major funding by:


Supporting sponsors: Boeing Community Fund, Target Corporation

Media Sponsors: West NewsMagazine, St. Louis Public Radio

Contributing Sponsors: Noboleis Vineyards, Houlihan's Restaurant & Drury Hotels

CLICK HERE to view the project video produced by Webcast Resource

CLICK HERE to read the University Sculpture Competition White Paper

About the Project:

In September 2012, Chesterfield Arts invited sculpture students at universities and colleges within 125 miles of Chesterfield to submit proposals for a permanent outdoor sculpture to be erected along the Stream Walk in Chesterfield Central Park. More than a dozen students submitted their concepts and were narrowed down to five finalists.

In March 2013 a juried panel selected Rod Callies, a Wildwood resident and sculpture student at St. Louis Community College-Meramec, as the winner. Award selection was based on overall concept, budget and fabrication logistics. Callies received a $1,500 honorarium and worked with a fabrication team to design, plan, budget, fabricate, transport and install the final piece. The goal of the project was to help develop the next wave of emerging sculptors by providing tangible work experience to help advance their careers. 

In addition to Callies' winning sculpture becoming part of the Chesterfield landscape, another competition finalist was selected to serve a paid internship at Chesterfield Arts and work on the project. Jennifer Allison – a recent graduate of Saint Louis University – assisted with project planning, marketing, installation and the sculpture unveiling event.

The entire project from competition to sculpture unveiling is documented on video and in print to be used as a project model for schools, communities and organizations interested in initiating a public art project in their community.


Artist Rod Callies' sculpture schematic

Sept. 21 University Sculpture Competition Unveiling Event

"Public Art...Setting the Stage for Artists and Communities"

Chesterfield Arts hosted a free public forum & panel discussion at Chesterfield YMCA featuring nationally-recognized sculptor and keynote speaker, Kurt Perschke (RedBall Project), and moderator, Liesel Fenner, Public Art Program Manager, Americans for the Arts, Washington D.C.            


Rod Callies -- Winning sculptor

Harry Weber -- internationally acclaimed sculptor (and chair of Chesterfield Arts' public art steering committee)

Roseann Weiss -- Director of Community Art & Public Art Initiatives for the Regional Arts Commission

Thad Duhigg -- Professor of Sculpture, SIU-Edwardsville

David Allen -- Director of Metro Arts in Transit


Kurt Perschke                                            Liesel Fenner                     

The panel discussed the value of public art and the opportunities it creates for building our communities. According to Liesel Fenner, "A community's investment in artists creating artworks for public spaces improves quality of life for residents and visitors alike, creating destinations that offer memorable, lasting experiences for all." 

University Sculpture Competition Unveiling

Chesterfield Mayor Bob Nation assists sculptor Rod Callies with ribbon cutting and "Aspire" is unveiled!

Rod Callies’ winning sculpture "Aspire" is now a permanent fixture along the Stream Walk at Chesterfield Central Park.  

Fabricated from 5,800 pounds of steel pipe cut at angles, "Aspire" consists of four steel spires, ranging in height from 10 to 17 feet. The public can walk in and around the sculpture, and children can crawl through the spires. The design, development, fabrication and installation of the nearly $80,000 project involved the work of 45 professionals and personnel and more than 350 hours of labor.

This interactive piece of public art is intended to reflect the importance of public art in the community and its ability to convey value, stimulate questions and evoke wonder and mystery.

Crowd enjoys food from Houlihan's Restaurant and wine by Noboleis Vineyards

Crowds admire "Aspire" by Rod Callies along the Stream Walk, Chesterfield Central Park

We like it, too!