PULLMAN, Wash. — Palouse Columns, a commissioned sculpture by acclaimed Seattle artist Robert Maki, will be dedicated Sept. 29 on Washington State University’s Pullman campus.

The public event, set to begin at noon, will be held at the sculpture, outside on the lawn near the northwest side of historic Thompson Hall, the university’s oldest building. 

Maki’s sculpture joins 10 outdoor artworks on campus. Each by different artists, they were acquired through the Washington State Arts Commission’s Art in Public Places Program. Working with the commission, the WSU Campus Arts Committee, selected Maki. Doug Baker, vice provost for academic affairs, is the committee’s current chair.

The first outdoor artwork on the WSU campus in Pullman was dedicated in 1976. Also, there are 12 other outdoor art pieces funded privately, including a statue on the side of Holland Library that was commissioned in 1949.

Palouse Columns is a tight grouping of six painted steel columns reflecting the rolling topography of the Palouse region of eastern Washington and northern Idaho. At night, lights bathe the sculpture. Maki envisions the sculpture becoming a casual “gathering place” for those in the university community and WSU visitors. 

The Seattle Times calls Maki “one of the region’s most critically acclaimed sculptors.”

“This project links my earliest work in art to the region that shaped my ideas and images and is an opportunity for me to site a sculpture in an environment that has played a critical role in shaping my art,” said Maki, a Walla Walla native.  He grew up in Camas in southwestern Washington after living in other cities in the state along the Columbia River.

Maki is a Western Washington University graduate. He has been awarded national fellowships and grants since he earned his Master of Fine Arts degree in 1966 from the University of Washington, where he taught for two years after finishing his graduate work. He has had sculpture shows in museums and galleries from San Francisco to Paris. 

His abstract sculpture has been widely honored for its integrity and strength. Maki has worked on 30 public and private commissions and installations in the Puget Sound area and in many national and international collections.