Sculpting the Future

The Public Art Incubator (PAI) is a unique program within the University of Northern Iowa art department and serves as a conduit between communities and artists to create art for public spaces.

Public art is a rapidly growing field in the United States. Augmenting the quality of life for its citizens, the visual arts and other cultural resources are increasingly recognized as major components of economic development initiatives in communities nationally. The PAI provides technical resources that assists both emerging and professional artists in the development of public art projects.

a student helps to install a large metal scupture
UNI Public Art Incubator

Assisting artists at all stages of the process

The PAI facilitates the transformation of artists’ concepts into a high-quality permanent artwork destined for communities across Iowa and beyond. Participating artists work directly with faculty, technical staff and students to fabricate artwork utilizing our well-equipped facilities.

Equipping Future Artists

Each project is distinct in scope, challenging students to problem solve and innovate fabrication processes while discovering new ways to make art.

Students work directly with professional artists and learn how to engage as collaborators in the creation of artworks that help shape the communities we live in.

Maintaining our Communities

The PAI works to promote and preserve the artistic culture of regional communities by serving as a consult for future public art projects as well as working to help maintain and restore artworks in public spaces.

The PAI also sponsors student artworks destined for public spaces, thus building their resumes and giving them an opportunity to build a competitive portfolio upon graduation.

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concept designs for a large, bowl-like metal sculptureworkers surround a huge piece of a metal sculpture they are installingsome shots of the fabrication process of a large metal sculpturea student kneels as they use a tool on a piece of metala metal sculpture titled Ice Blue shots of PAI employees installing public artworksPAI workers help a crane guide the statue is is supporting onto a cement padphotos of PAI employees working on various projectsdetails of a winglike metal sculpturesparks fly out of a huge metal structure as student works on itshots of the installation of a huge brown metal sculpture titled Nesta student helps fabricate a sculpture from inside the sculpture's tube-like body