sealPurdue News

September 8, 2000

Life-sized bronze animals take center stage at Purdue vet school

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – The School of Veterinary Medicine at Purdue University will unveil and dedicate a 45-foot-long bronze sculpture depicting the history of the human-animal bond on Homecoming Weekend, Saturday, Sept. 23.

The dedication ceremony for the sculpture, named "Continuum," will begin at 9 a.m. in front of Lynn Hall and will feature remarks from the sculptor, Larry Anderson; Purdue President Martin C. Jischke; Alan H. Rebar, dean of the School of Veterinary Medicine; and William Humphrey of Kokomo, president of the Indiana Veterinary Medical Association and a Purdue graduate. Special recognition will be given to Dr. Steven Beering, Purdue president-emeritus, for his support of the school during his 17-year term as Purdue’s top administrator.

"We are excited to have the opportunity to share this new Purdue landmark with alumni and all others who cherish the human-animal bond," Rebar said. "Society's appreciation of the importance of the relationship between man and animals has reached unprecedented levels. This sculpture also truly captures the spirit of Purdue's School of Veterinary Medicine. Our faculty, staff, students and alumni have forged a living "Continuum" of teaching and service in just the span of a few decades, and this piece reflects both our history and our future."

Alan Beck, director of Purdue's Center for the Human Animal Bond, said evidence of the benefits of interaction with animals continues to grow on many fronts.

"Our society has greatly elevated the level of respect for animals and their role as human companions," Beck said. "It is very appropriate to demonstrate our appreciation of the value of the human-animal bond through this new and dramatic piece of public art."

Following dedication remarks, a variety of special guests will assist in formally unveiling the sculpture. Two Seattle-area residents who posed for figures in "Continuum" will help reveal their bronze likenesses.

Commissioned by the school in 1998, "Continuum" features seven distinct pieces, including a variety of life-sized animals and humans. One of the most striking elements is a cave wall 16-feet wide and nine-feet tall, with recessed images depicting prehistoric animals. Three of the figures – a horse, a pig and a cat – show, in relief, their skeletal, circulatory and nervous systems, respectively.

Anderson created "Continuum" at his studio in Bonney Lake, Wash., (about 40 miles southwest of Seattle) over an 18-month period. He holds a master of fine arts degree from the Cranbrook Art Academy, and studied art at Lewis and Clark College as a protégé of Ivan Houser, the assistant sculptor for Mount Rushmore.

"I recognize the pivotal role veterinarians play in the link between people and animals," explained Anderson. "This sculpture suggests that the relationship between us and animals has been going on for a long time, and the bond is very strong as a result."

Artisans at Riverdog Fine Art Inc., in Chimacum, Wash., cast the pieces in bronze, completing the last section in August. Site preparation is underway in front of Lynn Hall on the south side of Purdue’s West Lafayette campus, and the sculpture's installation will begin about noon Sunday, Sept. 17. Anderson and Steve Mesler, president of Riverdog Fine Art Inc., will be present to oversee the installation, which is expected to take about three days.

Kopf Trucking of Goshen, Ind., donated transportation services to the project and brought the sculpture across country to Indiana on an open flatbed trailer during a week-long trip Aug. 19-25. Kopf Trucking is storing the sculpture until the installation begins on Sept. 17.

"Continuum" was paid for entirely by private gifts, including support from the estate of Margery Kahn, who was an Evansville, Ind., artist and was a client of the Veterinary Teaching Hospital, and the Indiana Veterinary Medical Association.

Larry Anderson is making available miniature sculptures of "Continuum" for sale through the school in a limited edition of 200. Each signed and numbered maquette costs $2,475 plus shipping and taxes. Purchasers will receive credit for a $1,000 charitable gift to the "Continuum" Fund, which supports areas of greatest need in the School of Veterinary Medicine.

Sources: Alan H. Rebar, (765) 494-7608,

Larry Anderson, (253) 863-2344;

Writer: Sharon A. Bowker, (765) 494-9723,

Additional sources:

Alan Beck, director of the Center for the Human Animal Bond, (765) 494-0854,

Kevin Doerr, director of Alumni Relations, School of Veterinary Medicine, (765) 494-8216,

* To the Purdue News and Photos Page