New fund will support creative projects committed to peace and global justice
This spring, a new sculpture by Professor Emeritus of Art A. Malcolm “Mac” Gimse ’58 titled Striving for Peace On Horizon’s Brim was installed near St. Olaf College’s Flaten Art Barn. The 24-foot-tall interactive steel sculpture serves as a striking emblem of hope for peace among humans, all living things, and with the earth.
Now the alumni who gifted the sculpture to the college, Lisa Nave Buck ’77 and Greg Buck ’77, have joined forces with Brenda Berkman ’73 and other generous Oles to create a new endowed fund that will support similar projects. The Gimse Striving for Peace on Horizon’s Brim Art Endowment will fund a wide range of creative projects on the St. Olaf campus that demonstrate a commitment to peace and global justice and foster a greater understanding and respect for the diversity of humanity.
St. Olaf Associate Dean of Fine Arts and Professor of Music Alison Feldt says the fund is available to support projects and programs by students, faculty, staff, and guest artists from all disciplines.
“We envision this as truly interdisciplinary,” says Feldt, who along with her faculty colleagues will oversee the process for selecting projects each year.
The new endowment celebrates Gimse’s enduring creative legacy and commitment to St. Olaf students and alumni. At a September 16 event held on campus to dedicate Striving for Peace on Horizon’s Brim and launch the endowed fund, more than 200 alumni and colleagues gathered and paid tribute to the impact the Gimses had on the lives of countless Oles.
“As an artist, Mac’s work is a unique blend of sculpture and poetry that captures the ultimate goodness of humankind,” Professor Emeritus of Art Wendell Arneson told those gathered for the event. Just as important, he added, the Gimses embody what it means to be “kind, wise, creative, generous, thoughtful, and endlessly inventive without limits.”
Gimse has created more than 2,000 bronze works of art over the years, and his many commissioned artworks include sculptures for 12 Nobel Peace Prize laureates. His sculptures have been exhibited in more than 120 galleries, colleges, and churches in the United States, as well as in 11 countries. His artwork can be seen at the Nobel Peace Prize Institute in Oslo, Norway, and in the Norwegian royal family’s collection. His stainless steel sculpture Between Earth and Sky stands beside the historic Archibald Mill in Dundas, Minnesota.
Over the course of his 30-year career on campus, Gimse taught classes in sculpture and art history, including world architecture in China, Japan, India, Southeast Asia, and Africa. One of four founding faculty in the fine arts major, he built a bronze foundry at the college. He was a National Endowment for the Humanities visiting scholar in the South Asian Institute at Columbia University in New York City and in Chinese Art History at the University of Maryland. As a Joyce Foundation Scholar, Gimse conducted research on Indian temples, including six visits to the Taj Mahal.
Gimse and his wife, Jackie, planned, led, and taught 35 study-abroad programs, including 14 Alumni and Family Travel programs.
Read more about Gimse’s work and the sculpture in this Fall 2021 St. Olaf Magazine story.