This spring she’s honoring those memories and much more with the installation of her artwork in the renovated Eastman Hall.
“It’s really profoundly coming full circle for me,” she said. “It’s like coming home — a reunion. … There’s no way I could have known 30 years ago when I was swimming in that pool and shooting baskets that I would be doing this now.”
Goodman was selected to create artwork for Eastman Hall through the Percent for Art Project, which designates that publicly-funded building projects use a percentage of the construction funds on art.
She installed her two-story mosaic Mississippi River Renewal in February and will return this April to install the companion mosaic, Ripples and Connections, in the Eastman lobby.
Focusing on the river was Goodman’s way to bring its beauty forward into the building so the beauty of the art and theme of water can be an active element in the healing and wellness that will occur in the Center for Health and Wellness Innovation. Eastman Hall will open to departments in June and to the public following a grand opening in August.
The project was motivational for Goodman, who is inspired by water — its power, movement, fluidity, ability to make change, and its mystery.
“This artwork is my sweet spot,” she said. “It’s just kind of making my soul sing.”
Stacia Goodman ’89 hides a hidden message in all of her artwork to allow people to engage with the art and have fun with it.
Mississippi River Renewal, the two-story mosaic, installed in Eastman Hall contains a message of peace, while Ripples and Connections contains a nod to the river’s wildlife.
“It’s all about helping people interact with the art. Seeing themselves in the art and having fun with it,” she said.
Mississippi River Renewal, a two-story mosaic, is installed behind a floating staircase connecting the second and third floors. It depicts the flow of the Mississippi River surrounding the Beaver Islands and is framed by pieces of re-purposed wood flooring and decorative tiles from the former pool.
Goodman’s wish is that it gives visitors a chance to stop and admire something that is beautiful and refreshing.
“People can touch my artwork. They can place their hands on it, study it,” Goodman said. “They can see themselves in it. In almost all of my artwork I include mirrors intentionally. I want people to see themselves.”
Ripples and Connections again features the Beaver Islands connected in concentric circles of water with overlapping ripples.
It’s as if you were standing in the water and drop a stone and the ripples go outward,” Goodman said. “The series of islands have radiating ripples going out to show all the connections that happen at St. Cloud State with people, and interests, and subjects and buildings — it’s about connections.”
Stacia Goodman ’89 is a self-taught mosaic artist. She got her start at a beginners mosaic class and started working on her own creating mosaic jewelry.
Her work grew in size until she did her first large mural in 2008 to honor the 100th anniversary of Kenwood Elementary School, where her children attended. The artwork incorporates student art as well as school supplies students were throwing away on the last day of classes.
She’s since gone on to do large public art projects including installations at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport hospitals, universities and more. She also does artwork for private sale and on commission.
Part of the inspiration for the artwork was Goodman’s own connections with St. Cloud State and its students. Not only was Goodman a student who used Eastman, but she has a lot in common with St. Cloud State’s current students.
Goodman came to St. Cloud State as a first-generation college student from a small Minnesota town. Although she majored in mass communications, Goodman nurtured her passion for art and psychology while studying at St. Cloud State.
“Out of everything I’ve done in my career, I am most enjoying these two pieces, and I’m most proud of them,” she said. “These two pieces just have a special place in my heart.”
As an artist, Goodman is a strong believer in the importance of public art as being a place maker that celebrates the site, its people and its culture.
“This artwork really anchors Eastman Hall and St. Cloud State in its beautiful place, which is on the banks of the Mississippi River,” she said.
As part of that place-making focus, Goodman has incorporated artifacts from Eastman Hall’s first life as a physical recreation center into both pieces through the use of tiles from the pool and wooden pieces from the gym floor.
“I have a great respect for that original craftsmanship of old buildings,” she said. “Artwork in renovated buildings can tell a story that bridges the past to the present. I feel like when we renovate buildings we shouldn’t lose the original purpose and the people who did that work.
“Someone laid that original gym floor piece by piece. For me to pick up those pieces and really study them and put my imprint on them — that’s an honor. There’s a spirituality to this that’s so much deeper than the work itself.”
Goodman often uses up-cycled materials in her artwork.
In addition to reconnecting with St. Cloud State through the art, the project has also given Goodman the chance to connect with students through a guest lecture this semester about public art and encouraging the students in their aspirations to become artists.
“For me to go back and give them a pep talk was another huge highlight of my career,” she said, adding that she’s made connections with students she’s spoken with. “There’s a generational difference, but art is a unifier.”
Repurposed materials find a new home
Pieces of wood from the gym floor and tiles from the pool are finding a new home in Stacia Goodman’s mosaics, but they’re not the only places remnants of Eastman Hall’s past can be found.
The big SC logo that was the centerpiece of the gym floor will be installed as a wall feature in the northeast entry of Halenbeck Hall. The piece is expected to be installed this summer.
Bleacher seats have been refinished to find a new use as a decorative element on the fireplace wall in the building’s new lobby, and marble panels used as dividers in the showers will serve as bathroom counters and a lobby wall feature in the renovated Eastman.
Decorative plaster frieze moldings and pieces of the gym floor will be housed in University Archives for historical purposes as well a copy of the original building blueprint found in a wall during the renovation.
Salvaged faucet and door handles will be turned over to student artists to be incorporated into a student art project to again hang in Eastman Hall and bridge the building’s past, present and future.