Polk Library at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh is home to a variety of artwork, and its most recent artwork purchase is a model of Polk Library built from 4,900+ Legos by former UWO employee Paul Wellington.
The model was purchased using proceeds of the Ethel Behncke fund. Behncke was chair of the Art Department in the 1930s and 40s. She was also a regional leader of the Federal Arts Program, a program that brought many paintings and sculptures to the then Oshkosh State Teachers College during the Depression.
“It seems very fitting then that proceeds from her original donation help continue to support artistic expression through our small art collecting activities at Polk,” said University Archivist Joshua Ranger.
Polk Library commissioned Wellington to build the Lego model of the building after learning about his passion for building micro scale buildings.
“Polk Library is the largest Lego model that I have ever designed and built,” Wellington said. “During my time working at Polk I took a few dozen pictures of the exterior to help me design the model in Lego Digital Designer (a Lego cad program). I also used a little bit of Google Street View for the Elmwood Ave side.”
The model took approximately 20 hours to design and eight hours to build.
“The most time consuming part was ordering and waiting for pieces to arrive,” Wellington said.
Wellington first started designing and building micro scale buildings 10 years ago, though he said he typically does not build models of actual buildings.
“In addition to Polk Library, I have built two different versions of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Unity Temple and a couple of Milwaukee skyscrapers,” Wellington said. “Currently I have been working on Metropolis, a micro scale modular city since February of this year.”
The model of Polk Library will be on display in the first floor gallery in time for fall semester before it moves to its permanent location in Polk 101.
“We buy artwork with funding given to the library with the purpose of beautification, so why not celebrate our building’s architecture,” Ranger said.
Wellington’s model of Polk Library was also featured in The Brother’s Brick blog and on their social networks.