16. Landscape Wood Carving

Artist: Charles Beck

Painted Wood Carving

“So Charles Beck rounded this corner of the new campus Science Building, saw the sky-lit wall space and said, ‘This needs something,’” recounts former Fergus Area College Foundation Executive Director Brooke Barsness.

Planning began in January 1997 for a piece of art, and Beck’s goal was to have this uniquely textured and painted wood carving completed by the time students arrived for classes in the fall.

Beck worked for six months to create the 4-by-20 basswood carving showing a scene characteristic of Otter Tail County. In August, Beck called the college to say he was ready for the carving to be hung in the Science Building.

“He’d been retired for 10 years,” Barsness said, “and he was still concerned that the college campus would be an environment where students could appreciate art.”

In a plaque hanging near the carving, Beck wrote “Nature is all about us. The never-ending cycle of the seasons stimulates the senses. One must only look – to experience the patterns, textures and colors of the land and sky, the hills and woods, the weeds and the flowers. My hope is that in a small way I have helped open the eyes of others to this diversity. To this mystery.”