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Central Library reveals sculpture meant to spark questions

By Jennifer Hoff, jhoff@wisctv.com
Published On: Aug 29 2013 10:08:53 PM CDT
Updated On: Aug 30 2013 08:27:38 AM CDT

"Question Mark" at Madison's Central Library

MADISON, Wis. -

Thursday night, Madison’s Central Library revealed its newest addition only to News 3.

The 21-foot-tall sculpture called “Question Mark” is hanging in the window of the library facing West Mifflin Street. The red and yellow piece is made entirely of aluminum and is lit with 372 LED bulbs.

“Sometimes it’s very difficult to have an iconic piece and also some kind of inspiration or meaning, and in this case, we’re able to marry both,” said Rosario Marquardt.

Marquardt is a Miami-based artist responsible for the sculpture. She said she and her husband have displayed their work in Madison museums before. Library officials contacted them about two years ago to fashion something for its reopening.

The library recently moved from Mifflin Street to Hamilton Street. The Madison Public Library Foundation calls it a more modern library with a $30 million price tag.

The question mark has been kept private, and after its reveal, supporters are sure it will spark a debate.

But Marquardt explains her reasons behind the idea.

“The answers are not as important as a good question and that’s what moves us through life. So we think there’s nothing better than a question mark in a library where we search for knowledge,” she said.

Madison Public Library Executive Director Gregory Mickells also believes “Question Mark” is the perfect icon to represent the library system and the Madison community while also appealing to visitors.

“Madison Public Library provides places and forums for users to seek knowledge and adventure, and exchange ideas,” Mickells said. “The installation is also personal to Madison because it reflects the city’s active, inquisitive citizen base that isn’t afraid to ask the tough questions that sometimes result in making our community and our state a better place to live.

The sculpture cost $150,000 and it was funded by a grant from the Madison Public Library Foundation. The grant funds were raised privately.

The library hopes this generates excitement for all the activities associated with its grand opening weekend that starts Sept. 21.

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