When most students are asked about the first piece of public art they saw on campus is, the majority is likely to give the same answer. The large statue located in the center of the pedestrian plaza, titled The Greeting, is one of the most recognizable pieces of public art on campus. Made of bronze with a size of roughly 54” by 32” by 21”, The Greeting depicts an elder of the Northern Plains Indians with his arms spread in a universal greeting. Because of its large size and easily recognizable appearance, it is a popular frame of reference for many people when they first arrive at Colorado School of Mines.
The Greeting is different from other pieces of art on campus because it was created as part of a series and was donated to the school.
The Greeting was sculpted by George Carlson in the late 1980s. His craftsmanship has led him to be considered one of America’s greatest sculptors. Much of what he paints and sculpts romanticizes the American West. From rolling fields of grass to Native American imagery, Carlson’s body of work has maintained public adoration to this day. In 2018 he won both the Thomas Moran Memorial Award for Painting and the Artists’ Choice Award at the Autry’s Masters of the American West. Because of this, The Greeting might be the most famous piece of art to be found on campus.
From the same base, twelve normal sized versions of The Greeting, like the one at Mines, were sculpted. Additionally, At least one slightly larger version, described as “Heroic Sized”, was produced. The heroic-sized version of The Greeting is currently located at the Eiteljorg Museum of the American Indian and Western Art in Indianapolis. The Greeting was chosen by the donors because it depicts a “universal greeting representing different cultures coming together in the hopes of mutual understanding” according to a plaque on the statue.
This particular copy of The Greeting found its way to the Colorado School of Mines campus in 2007. It was donated by John and Erika Lockridge. Lockridge Arena was named after and dedicated to John Lockridge for his continuing support of college basketball and his alma mater, Mines. In 2007 when the student recreation center was completed, the Lockridge’s donated The Greeting. After taking a look at The Greeting, students can be proud to know a little more about the person who takes the time to greet them every day.