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Public Art

As you explore Virginia Tech’s Blacksburg campus, visit the following locations to spend some time with the university’s various public art pieces.

Cheatham Hall

Wooden Kopjafa memorial by Levente Denes

Virginia Tech officials dedicated a wooden sculpture from West Virginia University honoring those who lost their lives in the April 16, 2007, tragedy. The carved monument stands outside of the entrance of the College of Natural Resources’ Cheatham Hall on the Blacksburg campus.

Patterned after traditional Hungarian memorials, the 14 ½ foot-tall, 600-pound wooden sculpture was created in idea and form by Levente Denes, associate professor of sustainable biomaterials in the Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Design at West Virginia University. The work was dedicated in June 2009.

Lane Stadium

Frank Beamer statue by Tom Gallo

This statue was created per a Virginia Tech Board of Visitors’ resolution in appreciation to Coach Frank Beamer for his contributions to Virginia Tech and the athletic program. The work was specially commissioned and stands in the Moody Flagpole Plaza at Lane Stadium. It was dedicated in 2018.

Moss Arts Center

Lyle the Frog, part of the 16 Frogs series by Christine Kosiba

A series of 16 bronze frog statues are placed strategically through the Town of Blacksburg and the surrounding area to call attention to the fresh water under and around the streets and buildings downtown. The frog at the Moss Arts Center is named for John Lyle Sr. and John Lyle Jr., a father and son duo who owned a school on this hill in the 1800s. In 1872 that school was converted into a college — and it grew to become Virginia Tech. The 16 Frogs statues were installed at the Moss Arts Center and around Blacksburg in 2016 and 2017.

Norris Hall

Polytech Marker by Beverly Pepper

Polytech Marker was designed in 1983 by artist Beverly Pepper, an American sculptor known for her site-specific projects that incorporate expanses of industrial metals into landscapes. The work was gifted to the university in an effort spearheaded by Virginia Tech alumnus John C. Farquaharson. Steve Bickley, professor emeritus in the School of Visual Arts in the College of Architecture and Urban Studies, worked closely with Pepper and a group of Bickley’s students to create a group of sculptures cast in bronze, steel, and iron. While Pepper designed the pieces, Bickley and his students made the wooden patterns that would be used as molds for the pieces. To complete the project, they worked with Thistle Foundry in Bluefield, Virginia, to cast the sculptures. When Farquaharson, the foundry owner, discovered the pieces were being created with the help of Bickley and his students, he suggested they make one for the university. As a result, Polytech Marker was created and gifted to Virginia Tech by Farquaharson, Pepper, Thistle Foundry, and foundry manager Jay Kelly.

Solitude and Fraction House

Thresholds: Understanding Our Complicated Past and Reconnecting Our Layered Histories by Carrie Gault

Thresholds includes four pairs of 10 ½-foot-tall, 1,800-pound thresholds installed on the grounds of Solitude. The thresholds are adorned with more than 2,000 hand-crafted, hand-painted clay tiles depicting images that represent more than 250 years of university and regional history. Thresholds is one of two works commissioned as a result of an international competition held by the Council on Virginia Tech History. The work was dedicated in 2022.

Think on These Things by Charlie Brouwer

Think on These Things includes four life-sized human figure sculptures that sit in contemplative and meditative poses on benches, which could also seat at least 10 visitors. Empty spaces on the benches invite visitors to sit and join the figures in contemplating words carved into the benches, such as “Indigenous,” “slavery,” “diversity,” “equality,” “education,” “history,” and “knowledge.” Additional words — “kindness,” “compassion,” “honesty,” “dignity,” “bravery,” “clarity,” and “empathy” — carved into the stones set in the ground beside the circle suggest ways of thinking about these things. Think on These Things is one of two works commissioned as a result of an international competition held by the Council on Virginia Tech History. The work was dedicated in 2022.

Upper Quad Entrance, near Lane and Pearson Halls

William Addison Caldwell statue by Larry Bechtel

This statue of William Addison Caldwell, a Craig County resident, walked 26 miles to enroll as the first student in 1872. The popular cadet majored in agriculture and worked as a teacher, clerk, and salesman before his death in 1910. The sculpture, which was donated by the Class of 1956, stands midway up a flight of stairs leading from Alumni Mall towards the Upper Quad. The work was dedicated in 2006.

Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine

Shilo by Jim Sardonis

A generous gift from veterinarian Mark P. Helfat and Mendy Helfat, owners of the Larchmont Animal Hospital in Mount Laurel, New Jersey, the work is named in honor of the Helfat’s own beagle, Shilo; donated in memory of Mark Helfat’s dog-loving parents, Lucile and Bernard Helfat; and was dedicated in September 2018.

Running Together by Gwen Reardon

Running Together is a life-size bronze statue featuring a horse, a dog, and a veterinary student, sculpted by Kentuck artist Gwen Reardon and dedicated in 2005 as part of the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine’s 25th anniversary celebration. The work was made possible by the generosity of Jane Talbot and was dedicated in memory and honor of Richard Burritt Talbot, founding dean of the college.

Ready to Serve by Larry Bechtel

The Virginia Law Enforcement K9 Memorial, Ready to Serve, is a life-size bronze German Shepherd police dog sculpted by Blacksburg artist Larry Bechtel and dedicated in 2009.

War Memorial Chapel

The Pylons by Henry Kries and Charles Rudy

The outdoor upper level of the War Memorial Chapel, originally built in 1960, contains Memorial Court with eight sculptured Indiana limestone pylons representing, from left to right, Brotherhood, Honor, Leadership, Sacrifice, Service, Loyalty, Duty, and Ut Prosim (the University motto, "That I May Serve"). Originally built in 1960, the four left pylons were designed by Henry Kries; the right pylons were designed by Charles Rudy.