A sculpture titled “Caduceus” by Southeast Missouri State University sculpture student Heather Meadows was dedicated today in downtown Cape Girardeau.
Located at 1304 Broadway at Area Properties Real Estate, “Caduceus” was unveiled as friends and community leaders celebrated the latest addition of artwork to the landscape along Broadway.
“I am super proud of this sculpture,” Meadows said. “I am pretty creative, but not the most confident, but this project really boosted my confidence.”
Meadows said she began work on the sculpture in February, explaining she underestimated the length of time entailed in the early stages that had a heavy emphasis on mathematics to ensure the curves of the piece would work correctly.
“The math took more time than the actual putting together of it,” she said.
“Caduceus” is an abstract reimagining of the lines and shapes observed within the iconic Caduceus staff, the short, winged staff entwined by two serpents. There are representations of this staff dating back between 4000 BC and 3000 BC. The Caduceus was popularized through the symbol’s adoption by the U.S. Army Medical Corps in 1902 as a result of confusion with the rod of Asclepius. In the following century, it was widely adopted by commercial healthcare organizations throughout the United States.
This symbolic object throughout time has been associated with messengers, negotiation, commerce, location and travels. The Caduceus is the symbol representing Mercury, the planet and the element, and as such, it has been a figure present throughout the earliest forerunners of science.
Caduceus is not only a reimagining of the famous staff but also a study in form and movement, Meadows said. The sculpture is an attempt to bring lifeless metal to life through flow and impression.
“I find certain satisfaction that the subject this piece is abstracted from is also focused on life, movement and vitality, and I hope to have embodied those qualities into this piece,” said Meadows, an art major with a concentration in sculpture, from Scott City, Missouri.
Becky Harding, co-owner of Area Properties Real Estate where the piece is displayed, said, their company is proud to support Southeast’s arts program and Old Town Cape by displaying student artwork on their property.
“We truly believe in this program,” she said.
Harding said this is the third Southeast student sculpture to be displayed at their place of business.
Caduceus “speaks to me in a lot of different ways,” Harding said of the sculpture. “It is beautiful.”
Harding said she would like to see more businesses along Broadway in downtown Cape Girardeau host student sculptures.
Chris Wubbena, Southeast professor of sculpture, said, “This has been such a great opportunity” for students, he said, adding he doesn’t know of another university that teams up with businesses in the community to display student artwork on their property.
“What you are doing is really, really special,” Wubbena said of Area Properties Real Estate and other businesses that have partnered in the program. “We want to live in an artful community that we love.”
He said student sculptures have a life along Broadway before being moved to other locations. Meadows’ sculpture will remain at 1304 Broadway until April 2020. Sculptures previously on display at Area Properties Real Estate have moved on to other cities where they live on, he said.
Wubbena congratulated Meadows on the completion of her sculpture.
“This is an awesome piece,” he said. “It is really graceful. When you see this piece, you see that elegance and that beauty of form.”