Art Professor’s Work Featured in Outdoor Sculpture Exhibit on Broadway


Chris Wubbena

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., March 20, 2014 – A sculpture by Chris Wubbena, associate professor of art at Southeast Missouri State University, will be featured among other pieces in the “2014 Cape Girardeau Outdoor Sculpture Exhibit on Broadway,” a year-long art exhibition along the Broadway Corridor in downtown Cape Girardeau.

Wubbena will have his sculpture ‘Victoria’ along with other pieces in the exhibit unveiled during a public reception at 6 p.m. Friday, April 4 in the Vasterling Suites Courtyard located at the corner of Broadway and Fountain Street.  The reception is open to the public after which participants are encouraged to walk Broadway and view the pieces. The exhibit will culminate in early April 2015.

Wubbena, of Jackson, Mo., is the founder of the exhibit being hosted by the Public Art Committee of the City of Cape Girardeau. The work of seven artists, including Wubbena, will be featured.

“As one of the founding members of the Cape Girardeau Public Art Committee, I thought it would be a nice first step for us to introduce art into our everyday environment with an outdoor sculpture exhibition,” Wubbena said.

He has exhibited his work in outdoor sculpture exhibitions across the country – in California, South Dakota, Kansas, Iowa, Missouri, Minnesota, Illinois, Indiana, North Carolina, and Virginia.

“As a public art committee member in Cedar Falls, Iowa, about 10 years ago, I had the opportunity to be a part of wonderful outdoor exhibitions at all levels, and I wanted to bring something like that to Cape Girardeau,” he said.  “Outdoor sculpture exhibitions bring a new life to communities, something different, a new perspective.  With the wonderful growth happening all around Cape Girardeau, I feel that this sculpture exhibition will be yet another rich, cultural component.”

“We’ve had a lot of support for this exhibition from the city and people around the community,” Wubbena said. “It shows that this community is ready for more cultural activity and wants to celebrate their hometown in new, exciting ways.  We hope that this exhibition will continue, allowing for the artwork to be rotated to new work every year.”

Mr. Tom Stancliffe, professor of art at the University of Northern Iowa, led the Public Art Committee in the jurying process. Stancliffe has exceptional experience in creating sculptures, jurying exhibitions, and assisting communities in arts development strategies.

“The artists included in this exhibition represent a cross section of contemporary sculpture. From the formal abstraction of Beth Nybeck, to the interwoven narratives of Chris Wubbena and the whimsical constructions of Dan Perry, my intent was to seek works that would best encourage a wide range of interpretations and dialog for this inaugural exhibition. What these artists have in common is a great sensitivity to the integrations of form, expressions, materials and craft and it was a great pleasure to have the opportunity to select significant works from both early and later career artists for this exhibition,” said Stancliffe.

By hosting the Outdoor Sculpture Exhibit on Broadway, the Committee hopes to achieve two primary goals: increase the number of arts-related activities within the region and provide an additional revitalization strategy for Old Town Cape.

“We are pleased to announce the seven artists on display in the first outdoor exhibition. All the artists invited to submit proposals put forward fine and unique work. However, we found these seven pieces really impacted the jurists,” said Julia Thompson, Parks and Recreation Department director with the City of Cape Girardeau.

“The Outdoor Exhibition is another exciting project in advancing the arts in Cape Girardeau, and it is our hope the citizens and visitors of Cape Girardeau enjoy their beauty along the Broadway Corridor,” said Murielle Gaither, executive director of the Arts Council of Southeast Missouri.

Other artists whose work will be featured in the exhibit are:

  • Andy Arvanetes – Chicago, IL
  • Mike Baur – West Chicago, IL
  • Beth Nybeck – Kansas City, MO
  • Dan Perry – Waterloo, IA
  • Ben Pierce – Cape Girardeau, MO
  • Stephanie Sailer – Swisher, IA

The pieces will be located at the following locations:

  •  North side of Broadway between Fountain and Lorimier
  • South side of Broadway between Lorimier and Spanish
  • North side of Broadway at Pacific intersection
  • South side of Broadway between Sprigg and Frederick
  • South side of Broadway between Middle and Fountain
  • North side of Broadway at Frederick intersection
  • South side of Broadway at Vasterling Suites Courtyard

The Public Art Committee consisted of two local artists and representatives from the Arts Council of Southeast Missouri, Old Town Cape, Cape Girardeau Area Chamber of Commerce, and the City of Cape Girardeau. The exhibition will be managed by the Arts Council of Southeast Missouri with support from the City of Cape Girardeau and the Cape Girardeau Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Wubbena says the sculpture he is creating — now two months in the process — is titled “Victoria,” which is Latin for victory.  It is inspired by The Nike of Samothrace, an 1800 year old marble sculpture displayed at the Louvre in Paris, he said.

“It is a sculpture that has always been alluring to me since I began work in sculpture.  When asked to be a part of the Cape Girardeau Outdoor Sculpture Exhibition, I felt it was the perfect opportunity to make my own homage to The Winged Victory,” he said.

Wubbena says his sculpture is not made of marble, though, but steel, and it is not representational, but abstract.

“The sense of victory represented in my sculpture is not forever, but fleeting and eroding,” he said.

“I hope that each individual approaches the artwork (in the exhibit) as something new, and reserves any quick judgment.  I hope they allow themselves to stretch their imaginations as they view the work.  Art is about experience, not necessarily understanding.  It’s about feeling, responding, and changing every time you view it.  I hope that it affects people every day in new positive ways,” he said.

Wubbena is head of Southeast’s Department of Art sculpture area in addition to teaching all levels of sculpture and three-dimensional foundations courses. His teaching background covers a wide range including basic sculpture techniques, experimental media, printmaking, professional practices and contemporary theory.

He has been featured in exhibitions in the past such as “Art in Place in Charlottesville, Va., “SculptureWalk” in Sioux Falls, S.D., “The 9th Sculpture in the Park Exhibition” in Indianapolis, “Art on the River” in Dubuque, Iowa and “A Southern Perspective on Prints: 2005 New Orleans Triennial” in New Orleans.

Most recently, Wubbena has completed a project entitled “Speaking While Listening” which is an expression, through sculptural installation, of the Vietnam conflict and its contemporary relevance. “Speaking While Listening” has been featured at Southeast Missouri State University, Virginia Tech University in Blacksburg, Va., Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, Ill. and Wartburg College in Waverly, Iowa.

Other works by Wubbena include “Landmarks” commissioned by Butler County, Iowa and “Forward” commissioned by Mississippi Power Company in Gulfport, Miss. to commemorate the work done by the Mississippi Power employees during and after the events surrounding Hurricane Katrina.

For public inquiries regarding the Public Art Committee or the Cape Girardeau Outdoor Sculpture Exhibition on Broadway, please contact the Arts Council of Southeast Missouri at (573) 334-9233 or visit the website at Future information can also be found at

More information is available at