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Central Washington University

"Mammoth" Tusk to Frame New Samuelson

Thursday, July 19, 2018

A massive artwork that will frame the eastern entrance of the newly renovated Samuelson Hall at Central Washington University will be installed the week of July 16.

Sculptor Ilan Averbuch created “Mammoth,” a large-scale installation of a wooly mammoth tusk, one that appears to go under the walkway, and emerge on the other side. It alludes to the mammoth fragment in the collection of the university. According to the artist, it “creates a visual metaphor for the scientific advancements made from that discovery . . . It evokes a spiritual and intellectual search into the past to understand who we are and our place in the universe.”

“The tusk will go up over several days,” said Gregg Schlanger, chair of the Department of Art + Design, and member of the art selection committee. “It is in several pieces and each will be stacked and welded one at a time. If all goes well this week, we should see the first pieces installed this Friday.”

The total installation area measures 49 x 10 feet. The base of the tusk measures 16 feet high on one side; the tip of the emerging tusk is 25 feet high.

The sculpture is made of Cor-ten steel plates cut and welded to form the shape of the tusk. The plates will clad an internal Cor-ten steel frame. A circular ring of rectangular concrete blocks will circle the base of each tusk and serve as a detectable warning for the visually impaired, as well as hide the foundation and the sculptures connection to it.

The work was fabricated in Averbuch’s studio in Long Island City, New York, over the course of nine months, and transported in pieces on a semi-trailer. The work will be installed on site by Averbuch and an assistant, and take approximately one week.

Averbuch is a sculptor who grew up in Israel, and attended university in England and the United States. His artworks are mainly large-scale outdoor sculptures, made from raw materials such as stone and wood, as well as metals and glass. In his own words, his art “involves the recycling of images and materials, moving from one time-span to another.”

As with all new buildings, Samuelson received artwork funded through the Art in Public Places (AIPP) program. The AIPP program facilitates the acquisition, placement, and stewardship of artwork in state-funded building projects throughout Washington. The Washington State Legislature established the AIPP program in 1974 to acquire artwork for K-12 public schools, colleges, universities, and state agencies, funded by ½ of 1 percent of the state’s portion of construction costs.

Illustration: Artist's concept of "Mammoth"

Media Contact: Valerie Chapman-Stockwell, Public Affairs, 509-963-1518,

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