A Guide to Art on Campus

For alumni and friends, a trip to campus means revisiting meaningful locations – landmarks and pieces of art that hold important memories for so many. Use this guide to take a trip down memory lane and learn about the history of the places on campus that mean the most to you.

Special thanks to our SB Experts in the Department of Art and University Archives.

Zebra Path

Artist: Kim Hardiman ’82
Location: Academic Mall
Year of Installation: 1981

Located behind the Melville Library, the Zebra Path was originally painted in 1981 by Stony Brook student Kim Hardiman ‘82 as part of an advanced seminar in public art. The 232′ x 12′ handpainted walkway, regularly refurbished with new coats of paint, constitutes one student’s lasting tribute to the Stony Brook campus. Read more.

Tabler Piano Steps

Project Lead: Naveen Mallangada ’17
Location: Tabler Quad
Year of Installation:
2015

Providing pedestrian access to Tabler Quad, these steps painted to look like the keys of a grand piano are the result of a student project led by Naveen Mallangada ’17. Inspired by an art class led by Professor Nobuho Nagasawa, Mallangada worked alongside several members of the campus community to bring the project to fruition. Read more.

Korean Village

Artist: Chang-Hee Kim
Location: Engineering Quad
Year of Installation: 1993

This 17-foot bronze sculpture has become a memorable and beloved piece of the Engineering Quad. 

Umbilic Torus

Artist:  Dr. Helaman Ferguson
Location:  Outside of the Math and Physics buildings
Year of Installation: 2012

At 24-feet high, this 10-ton bronze structure was created by celebrated sculptor and mathematician Dr. Helaman Ferguson as a celebration of the fusion of mathematics and art. Dedicated by the Simons Foundation, the Umbilic Torus took nearly two years to create and involved a crew of over a dozen artists, engineers, programmers and welders.

Why?

Artist: Norman Mercer
Location: Student Activities Center
Year of Installation: 1997

This colorful cast acrylic sculpture was gifted to the university by artist Norman Mercer in 1997, and has become a recognizable landmark in the SAC, earning this spot the name “Why Lobby.”

Library Book Steel Sculpture

Artist: Milton Glaser (1929-2020)
Location: Outside of the Frank Melville, Jr. Memorial Library
Year of Installation: 2002

Designed by famed graphic designer Milton Glaser, this steel structure is installed outside of the Frank Melville, Jr. Memorial Library and faces the academic mall.
(Information and photo courtesy of University Archives, Stony Brook University)

Earth, Air, Fire, Water (“The Butterfly Wall”)

Artist: Toby Buonagurio, Professor, Department of Art
Location: Simons Center for Geometry and Physics
Year of Installation: 2011

Commissioned by the Simons Center for Geometry and Physics.

Memorial Arch

Artist: Milton Glaser in collaboration with Nicholas Fasciano
Location: Outside the Humanities Building 
Year of Installation: 2002

The Arch, donated by the Stony Brook Alumni Association, honors the 21 Stony Brook alumni who were lost on September 11, 2001. The 12-foot-high by 8-foot-wide arch is constructed of brass that will eventually change color to a soft verdigris. 

Boulders


Scattered throughout campus, these boulders are 20,000 year-old leftovers from the Ice Age glaciers that once blanketed Long Island. During the extensive excavations that accompanied the initial construction of buildings and roadways on campus, these boulders were unearthed and incorporated into the landscape. Today, they serve as brightly painted totems for fraternities, sororities and other campus organizations. (Note: Permission from the Office of Student Activities is strictly required!) Read more.


Paul W. Zuccaire Gallery

Location: Staller Center for the Arts
Director: Karen Levitov

The Zuccaire Gallery features changing exhibitions of professional artists, as well as annual exhibitions showcasing the work of Stony Brook University art students, and triennial exhibitions featuring the Art Department’s distinguished faculty artists. Programs include artist talks, receptions, art history and craft events, and the campus-wide Art Crawl. Instagram: @ZuccaireGallery
Learn more.


Charles B. Wang Center

Director: Jinyoung A. Jin, Ph.D.

Founded in 2002 as an Asian and Asian American Cultural Center and an integral component of Long Island’s Stony Brook University, the Charles B. Wang Center is dedicated to being the foremost world-class center of Asian and Asian American arts and culture. Learn more and check out upcoming exhibits.

Simons Center for Geometry and Physics

Art Director and Curator: Lorraine Walsh

The Art & Culture initiative at the Simons Center for Geometry and Physics is designed to cultivate conversation and connect scientists, artists, and the community at large.


Spread Your Wings

Artist: MFA student and SBU alum Xiaohui (Katie) Wang (BFA ’20)
Location: Wall adjoining the LGBTQ* Center and West Side Dining
Year of Installation: 2023

Wang’s colorful tree/bird composite — called “Spread Your Wings” — speaks to the university’s values of inclusion and belonging. It incorporates thoughts and words solicited from local community members. Learn more about how the Campus Beautification Committee spearheaded this initiative.

Peace, Love, SBU

Artist: Students, faculty and staff from across campus
Location: Outside the Life Sciences Building
Installation: November 2022

Students, faculty and staff from across campus joined together to help paint the “Peace, Love, SBU” mural outside of the Life Sciences Building. The mural was featured in President Maurie McInnis’ annual end of year message.

Heartbeats of Stony Brook

Project Lead: Naveen Mallangada ’17
Location: Nicolls Road underpass tunnel
Installation: September 2017

Following his experience with the Piano Steps, Mallangada decided to take on a bigger art project, this time connecting the “Heartbeats of Stony Brook” in a stunning mural.

Explore these and other campus exhibits at a future campus-wide Art Crawl. Each semester, you’ll have the opportunity to enjoy a series of guided tours through the Charles B. Wang Center, Paul W. Zuccaire Gallery, Simons Center Gallery and the Special Collections and University Archives of the University Libraries. Stay tuned for more information.


Did you know? The Stony Brook University Community is full of incredible artists, like Bonnie Astor ’73, a former artist for The Statesman. Read about her incredible career, including 30 years as a nurse!


Meet the Stony Brook Experts who contributed to this guide:

Karen Levitov
Director and Curator, Paul W. Zuccaire Gallery
Professor of Practice, Art Department
Stony Brook University

Kristen J. Nyitray
Director, Special Collections and University Archives
University Archivist
Associate Librarian
Stony Brook University Libraries

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