Bright red cardinal comes to campus

Thursday, September 17, 2015

He shocks us when he flies
like a red verb over the snow. 

—from “The Cardinal” by Henry Carlile 

cardinal sculpture on UNH campus

There’s a new bird in town and it’s nesting on a plot of lawn off Main Street near the Health Services building. It’s a super-sized bright red cardinal made of powder-coated steel and constructed by American artist Dale Rogers. UNH Today asked Kristina Durocher, director the UNH Museum of Art, to tell us more about the bird and how it got here.

UNH Today: Does the bird have a name?

Durocher: The title of the sculpture is Cardinal, but we’re open to suggestions. Tweet us @MOAUNH.

UNH Today: How did he arrive and by what mode of transport?  

cardinal sculpture on UNH campus
Photo: Dawn Zitney, UNH Health Services

Durocher: Artist Dale Rogers’ team of welders assembled Cardinal in his Haverhill, Massachusetts, studio and transported the sculpture and base to campus in their construction trailer. The bird was mounted once the base was secured.

See time-lapse video of installation

UNH Today: What role will he serve on campus?

Durocher: Cardinal is meant to spark curiosity, enhance the campus grounds and remind people of the importance of the visual arts in their daily lives. The sculpture installations are privately funded by people who believe public art increases appreciation for the university’s unique sense of place.

UNH Today: Why did you seek it out?

Durocher: Many people are familiar with Dale’s 16-foot high American Dog sculpture located off Route 495 in Massachusetts. For UNH, I wanted something different and bold, but an image people would recognize at an accessible scale.

UNH Today: How did you choose the location?

Durocher: Dale and I met with Doug Bencks, campus architect, to review possible sites. We all thought the sculpture is welcoming; therefore, we looked for locations with high foot traffic and visibility from one of the main gateways to campus. This location met those criteria and required minimal site preparation. It was our first choice, and because of its proximity to the public art around Paul College and Health Services, this location forms a secondary concentration of art outside of the museum grounds.

UNH Today: Where was Cardinal before coming here?

Durocher: UNH is the first place Cardinal has landed. We’re thrilled to debut two of Dale’s newest pieces. The second work, Seasons, is on view in the Mills Courtyard at the Paul Creative Arts Center. Both will be exhibited through 2017.

public art on UNH campus
Rogers' work Seasons, on display in the Mills Courtyard at the Paul Creative Arts Center, is composed of four trees. This tree represents winter.


Valerie Lester, unless otherwise noted | Communications and Public Affairs