Star Struck

"Stardust is the source of all life and matter," said Nancy Jannik when relating her vision for the Science Laboratory Center atrium to sculptor Larry Kirkland.

His interpretation of Jannik's vision is featured in the book, Natural Histories:  Public Art by Larry Kirkland, a retrospective of the internationally renowned artist's work.

Completed in 2004, the soaring glass atrium connects three buildings on the Winona State University campus. Central to the space, and Jannik's vision, is a 16-foot "star bench," crafted of black granite and granitic gneiss, on which Kirkland engraved a representation of one of the first accurate maps of the heavens, Atlas Coelestis. The same map adorns the cover of Natural Histories.

Jannik, a hydrogeologist and then dean of the College of Science & Engineering, oversaw the design and construction of the $30 million Science Laboratory Center. She worked closely with Kirkland on the atrium, which depicts scientific exploration from a microscopic to galactic scale. (Jannik remains a hydrogeologist, but is now associate vice president for Research, Graduate Studies, and Planning at Winona State.)