New Addition added to Boathouse

July 12, 2010

IOWA CITY– Another beautiful addition has been made to the home of University of Iowa rowing, the P. Sue Beckwith, M.D., Boathouse this month.

The Iowa Legislature enacted the Art in State Buildings program in 1979 to ensure that fine arts play an important and integral role in state construction projects. Iowa’s legislation requires that one-half of one percent of the total cost of state construction projects be used for the inclusion of fine arts in state building projects.

The Art in State Buildings committee, chaired by Pam White, interim director of the Museum of Art, in collaboration with many others, selected Des Moines artists Rebecca Ekstrand and Thomas Rosborough to complete their vision for a 42′ x 5′ glass-tile mosaic mural to be installed in the boathouse’s tank room. This piece of art, an original design created specifically for the Beckwith Boathouse, is comprised of 46,000 glass tiles and was assembled during a 10-month period in the Ekstrand Studio in Des Moines. The mosaic was then cut into 100 pieces, each approximately 2′ square. The pieces were then transported to Iowa City, reassembled, and installed throughout a three-day period.

The inspiration for the piece came from the scenery surrounding the Beckwith Boathouse and from the sport of rowing itself. Rosborough, an illustrator and public artist, has been a rower for more than 20 years. Ekstrand, a public sculptor, has been commissioned for many pieces of public art in Iowa, in addition to working on projects throughout the United States. The design work, presentation materials, and many hours devoted to the initial design process were donated by the artists.

The piece will be formally celebrated at a private event in July, at which time the UI also will be celebrating the Beckwith Boathouse’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold certification. The Beckwith Boathouse is the first building on campus to achieve LEED certification.

The UI acknowledges the UI Foundation as the preferred channel for private contributions that benefit all areas of the University. For more information about the UI Foundation, visit its web site at