A Guide to Public Art on the Texas Tech Campus

Steel House by Robert Bruno, 2015, seen by the architecture building


Despite what some may think, this sculpture was created before the iconic house. It was originally created in 1974 and was Bruno’s inspiration for creating something similar for his home. The piece had been sitting in a cotton field for more than 35 years prior to its arrival on campus.

The Fire Inside by Mark Chew, 2015, seen by the Creative Movement Studio


This raw stainless steel abstract sculpture was inspired by the location in which it resides, outside the Creative Movement Studio.

Texas Rising by Joe O’Connell and Blessing Hancock, 2014, seen by the West Village Residence Halls


“My first several visits to campus included a game day Friday and Halloween,” the artist said. “The atmosphere was electric and offered an invaluable education into the character of this university and its students. Texas Rising reflects these impressions of campus life and how they are a dynamic and fundamental aspect of the student experience. The sculpture draws inspiration from the strong Texas Tech lineage and traditions evident throughout campus.”

Astrolabe by Owen Morrel, 2014, seen in the experimental sciences courtyard



“[The piece forces] the viewer to discover something new about the act of perception or perhaps revitalize the act of seeing through the inducement of disorientation,” the sculptor said

The Messengers by David B. Hickman, 2013, seen by the media & communication building


This is the first kinetic piece in the Texas Tech art collection.

“Inspiration for this piece came from the different ways we communicate. The messenger pigeons go back to the earliest forms of communication, and the basic tools for human communication, our five senses, are represented on the tail of each sculpture,” the sculptor said.

We Are In The Business of Changing The World by Joe Barrington & Tara Conley, 2013, seen by the business administration building


This sculpture was made to represent the various elements of business from the local to global level; each piece of the sculpture acts as a symbol for a certain aspect of today’s market.

The set of pipes creating the arch is meant to portray, “the volatile nature of the market, but also the energy and breadth that goes into every business.”

Fountain by Juanjo Novella, 2013, seen by the petroleum engineering building


“[He] was inspired by how petroleum and water move together and wanted to integrate that into a piece,” the artist said. “The sculpture depicts the movement and flow of water as if from a spring, which is where the name originates.”

Four Faces by Michael Stutz, 2013, seen by Talkington Hall


Stutz, the artist, said the faces represent individual personalities, like the students on campus, but use humor and humanity to promote observation, expression and collaboration. The faces are meant to be observed from every angle, as they look drastically different from front to back.

The Way West by John Buck, 2007, seen by Gordon Hall


According to the Texas Tech Public Art Collection Booklet, the female form that is central to this work honors the collective strength of women engaged in higher education. A group of symbols rising above the figure’s shoulders emphasizes the workings of her mind rather than her physical features.

Square Spiral Arch: A Portal of Discovery by Jesus Moroles, 2005-06, seen by the biology building10SquareSpiralArch_1

This piece, and Lapstrake Gateway, Moroles’ other piece, is meant to catch one’s eye from a distance because of its monumental scale, but upon viewing the surface close up, the pieces provide another kind of textural experience. (Texas Tech Public Art Collection Booklet)

Lapstrake Gateway: A Portal of Discovery by Jesus Moroles, 2005, seen by the electrical and computer engineering building


Lapstrake is a companion piece for Square Spiral Arch. (Texas Tech Public Art Collection Booklet)

Wind River by Deborah Butterfield, 2004, seen by Murray Residence Hall


Created from carefully selected branches, sticks or metal objects, the artist’s sculpture can resemble textured line drawings that have risen from the paper to assume a weighty, expressive, three-dimensional form. (Texas Tech Public Art Collection Booklet)

Tornado of Ideas, Tom Otterness, as seen in the free speech area


Small bronze cartoon characters are scattered in alcoves throughout the Student Union Building; they were made to complement the main tornado outside. See if you can find the cartoonized Masked Rider inside. (Texas Tech Public Art Collection Booklet)

Comma by Po Shu Wang, 2003, seen in the free speech area


This sculpture is meant to encourage passersby to interact with and muse on natural phenomena, such as what sounds the movement of the earth’s crusts make or what sounds the sun makes. By pushing the knob attached to the sculpture, you can, in essence, sample the sound of the sun. (Texas Tech Public Art Collection Booklet)

The Read Reader (AKA The Bookman) by Terry Allen, 2003, seen in the free speech area


“The artist has cast the College Edition Dictionary upside down in the figure’s hand, suggesting that to grow intellectually one must lose the fear of shedding previously held beliefs, looking lost, or being wrong.” (Texas Tech Public Art Collection Booklet)

Headwaters by Larry Kirkland, 2002, seen in the english philosophy & education courtyard


The letters remain a fragment of a word, a symbol for a sound, but together they symbolize the potential for communication and the unquenchable thirst for knowledge. The water pouring over the fountain service reminds the viewer of the variety of sounds that letters create. (Texas Tech Public Art Collection Booklet)

Irish Madonna by Glenna Goodacre, 2001, seen in the human sciences courtyard


This is not Glenna Goodacre’s first homage to the Irish; she has created numerous sculptures commemorating those whom perished from, as well as those whom survived, the Irish Potato Famine. Her other sculptures from the Irish Memorial can be seen in Colorado and Philadelphia. (Texas Tech Public Art Collection Booklet)

Masked Rider by Grant Speed, 2000, seen by the Marsha Sharp Center for Student Athletes


This sculpture is a 25 percent larger-than-life depiction of the Masked Rider, representing the well-known tradition as the rider rides out into the field before each game. The horse is in full gallop riding toward the stadium, while the rider holds his “Guns Up.”

Park Place by Glenna Goodacre, 1997, seen in the Talkington Plaza


This installation depicts the stages of human life from childhood to old age, which is why it is placed near the College of Human Sciences. (Texas Tech Public Art Collection Booklet)

Preston Smith by Glenna Goodacre, 1985, seen by the Administration Building


This oversized bronze statue depicts Preston Smith, a Texas Tech graduate and governor of Texas from 1968-1972. He was instrumental in opening Tech’s schools of law and medicine. (Texas Tech Public Art Collection Booklet)

Prometheus by Charles Umlauf, 1967-68, seen in front of the University Library


This substantial statue now graces the entrance of the Texas Tech library, but it once stood in a Wells Fargo Bank lobby fountain for more than 30 years. The statue was given to Tech’s public art collection in 2000. (Texas Tech Public Art Collection Booklet)

Riding Into the Sunset (Will Rogers & Soapsuds) by Electra Waggoner Biggs, 1950, as seen in Memorial Circle


Will Rogers was a famous stage humorist and trick roper in the 1920s and 1930s.

“Will Rogers felt at home in the Lubbock area. His statue is a befitting monument to your students and faculty… This statue will fit into the traditions and scenery of our great western country,” the artist said. (Texas Tech Public Art Collection Booklet)

About Jordann Fowler


  1. I love looking at public art. I take my kids to college campuses and beach boardwalks just to look at it. I even got a huge collection of cheap garden statues online that I have set up around my property. I am especially a big fan of the gnome ones. However, I would love to have a miniature Astrolabe like this campus has. Actually, I would love to have a miniature anything that is there because it is all so inspiring to me.

  2. Maria Corte says:

    I think this is a very important article, it helps see Texas Tech not only as a academic establishment but also an artistic and cultural one. It reminds me of those pamphelts from different touristic cities which are able to show case the things that are interesting about them.


  1. Statue In The Courtyard Of An Educational

    […] specially a big fan of the gnome ones. However, I would love to have a miniature […]

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