SAN ANTONIO – The University of Texas at San Antonio on Friday began the installation of an 18-foot Corton Steel sculpture that was donated by the daughter of a prominent artist.
The sculpture titled Drum Rhythm No. 11 was created by American artist and sculptor Fletcher Benton, who lived and worked in San Francisco.
Benton, who died in 2019, was best known for his kinetic art and his works are included in collections in some of the country’s best-known museums including the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.
The sculpture was donated to UTSA by Ashlie Benton, the artist’s daughter, in collaboration with Centro San Antonio.
“UTSA is committed to developing beautiful public spaces that enhance the vitality of downtown San Antonio,” said Veronica Salazar, UTSA chief financial officer and senior vice president for business affairs. “As we conceptualized the new facility for our School of Data Science and National Security Collaboration Center, we sought to incorporate public artwork as a central element. Our close partnership with Centro San Antonio provided valuable input, supporting our efforts to ensure spaces at UTSA—and throughout San Antonio—serve as vibrant and diverse cultural centers. We are appreciative to Ms. Benton for sharing her father’s sculpture with San Antonians, who will enjoy his incredible talent.”
Drum Rhythm No. 11 is one of three pieces in Benton’s Drum Rhythm series. The drum and drumsticks in Benton’s sculpture are representative of the “lyrical playfulness that is at the heart of many Fletcher Benton works,” explained Michael Roby, director of San Francisco-based Fletcher Benton Studio.
The sculpture is nine feet in diameter and weighs 3,500 pounds and will be installed at the northwest corner of San Pedro I (SPI), located at 506 Dolorosa St., adjacent to San Pedro Creek.
SPI will house UTSA’s National Security Collaboration Center and new School of Data Science, which is scheduled to open in the spring of 2023.
“Much like the work that will take place at the UTSA School of Data Science, Fletcher Benton’s work is a convergence of the arts, sciences and mathematics,” said Teresa Niño, UTSA Vice President for University Relations. “This public artwork will speak volumes for our city’s diverse population while helping to further transform San Antonio’s high-tech corridor into a destination.”
The university is planning to create a space outside SPI where students can rest, study, socialize and play amid public art and native plants.
The area will also feature two large murals that will be created by eight local artists.