The University of Michigan Museum of Natural History recently commissioned a local Ann Arbor artist to create an original work of art for its new museum, opening in the spring of 2019.

The museum has contracted with artist Mark Tucker, founder of FestiFools, FoolMoon, and other community arts events, to create a colorful, dinosaur-themed sculpture for the new museum’s Marquee Gallery Space visible from Washtenaw Avenue.

The project is funded, in part, by a grant of $15,000 from the State of Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs (MCACA). The grant was awarded through the MCACA peer-review process and was one of 575 applications to compete for MCACA fiscal year 2018 funding.

“We believe art and science are a powerful pairing for visitor learning. This grant enables us to create an intriguing sculpture that will entice people to discover more in our exhibits,” said Amy Harris, the museum’s director. “Throughout the new museum, we are using artistic expressions to communicate scientific content. In other words, we are putting the “A” in STEAM—Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics.”

Organizations receiving a MCACA grant award are encouraged to involve the community in their arts and culture projects—a mission shared by the museum. Tucker was selected, in part, because he excels at engaging volunteers in his artistic endeavors. He recently worked with a number of museum supporters who got their hands dirty making “bones” for the giant papier-mâché sculpture.

The new Museum of Natural History will open to the public in the spring of 2019.