Man Who Will Turn Cotton Bowl Facade into Public Art Likes Glass. And Light

Much has been written about the now-certain $25 million renovation and expansion of the Cotton Bowl and the subsequent announcement that the stadium will host the annual cross-border skirmish between  the University of Texas and the University of Oklahoma (and their football teams) through at least 2020.

But who cares about football? The real reason tens of thousands of maroon- and burnt orange-clad partisans flock to the Cotton Bowl each year is to soak in the art deco architecture and satisfy their aesthetic longings. It's a good thing then that the City Council decided to include funding to turn the stadium's facade into a piece of public art in the pot of money it's showering on the stadium, with additional funds coming from the 2006 bond program.

The city, after reviewing 25 artists and short-listing five, has now picked the man who will do so (pending approval by the Cultural Affairs Commission, which meets this evening). The selection is not a well-known local but James Carpenter, a "light artist and designer" who runs a design firm in New York City.

Kay Kallos, the city's public art manager, said locals were included on the short list but a selection committee picked Carpenter who, judging by his website, really likes glass and has put it in some pretty high-profile places.

A final design hasn't been drafted, but Kallos said she will pass along a pair of conceptual sketches submitted by Carpenter that give a general idea of what might be in store. There are no hard numbers on cost, since much will depend on the final design and how it's incorporated into the larger renovation project, which is supposed to be done by August 2013.

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Eric Nicholson
Contact: Eric Nicholson