From the Examiner: University of Texas at El Paso UTEP Centennial Tours

By on February 17, 2014

UTEP Pickaxe sculptureAs part of the University of El Paso at TexasCentennial celebration, different public tours are scheduled to explore the history of the university. February 2014 tours are highlighting the arts of UTEP. This is a walking tour that highlights some of the prominent outdoor sculptures and some of jewels of other media tucked away in various buildings. This tour was developed by Professor Stacy Schultz and her students.

The arts tour started at the 25 foot tall pickaxe standing as a sentinel at the university’s western entrance. The steel sculpture is pieced with binary code at both the top and bottom of the ax head that quotes part of university president Diana Natalicio’s “Believe in yourself, Believe in your dream” speech. The pickaxe was created by Michael Clapper. The pickaxe is especially dramatic a night when the binary digits are lit from inside the pickaxe, and base lights illuminate the rusty-colored exterior.

End of the Trail (1980), an Indian warrior on his mustang by Luis Jimenez resides in the new Engineering Building. The sculpture is made of fiberglass and airbrushed in acrylics using the same method to paint low-rider automobiles. The horse is decorated with day of the dead stencils and light bulbs salvaged from the Jimenez family sign business.

The Texas Wedge sculpture Michael Kolstad

The Texas Wedge sculpture Michael Kolstad

The Texas Wedge (1986), by James MacBeth, is a set of square aluminum tubes installed at the entrance of the university’s library. The golden tubes shimmer in the desert sun light and sway gently in the wind. The wind flowing through the tubes produces organ-like sounds. The library was fortunate to obtain the sculptor’s notes and photographs on the creation, transportation, and installation of the sculpture.
Inside the library, the walls of the third floor are covered with 100 framed prints of Riders Across the Century by Jose Cisneros. These highly-detailed pencil drawings depict different riders spanning centuries of southwestern history. The subjects range from conquistadors to Spanish gentry to Billy the Kid.

On the ground floor of the library, is a life-size, six foot wide print of El Mercado Juarez (The Juarez Marketplace) by Hal Marcus. The print is a very detailed image of the old marketplace across the Rio Grande from El Paso in Juarez, Mexico.
Crossing the street from the library, we visited the Undergraduate Building to see Kim Crider’s “untitled” metal sculpture from her vessels series. The sculpture is inspired by ancient Greek funerary vessels.

Crossing a courtyard to the rear-side of the university’s Centennial History Museum, we came to a wooden Bhutanese prayer wheel. Passersby are welcome to spin the wheel.

Finishing the tour, we walked around to the front of the Centennial Museum to view the stone-carved lintel over the museum’s main entrance. Installed in 1936 when the museum was completed, the lintel depicts Caveza de Vaca’s arrival to the southwest. The artist who created the carving is unknown.

This tour of UTEP’s art will be repeated throughout the month of February. Different tours will be conducted in the months that follow.

For more information on University of Texas at El Paso centennial tours, please go to UTEP100YEARS.COM, select Explore Our History, then Take the Tour. Or contact Maribel Villalva, Director of the Centennial Museum, at

To see more photos of the art work from this tour, please go, and click on the UTEP Art Tour gallery.

To read more of my adventure online articles, please go to Examiner.Com and enter Michael Kolstad in the search bar.

Published on February 17, 2014 at

The Centennial Office is located in room 403 of UTEP's Administration Building. Contact us at (915) 747-5362 or