Nov 30, 2012 • By

Art that fills a busy space

When the “Champions Center” was added to General Mills’ headquarters about ten years ago, the design team wanted to do something special in the newly-created, permanent spaces. So, the company hired two artists to transform two walls.

Don McNeil, the curator of the company’s art collection at the time, worked closely with the artists.

One thing about commissioning art, Don tells us, you never know what you’re going to end up with.

“That’s one of the interesting things and scary things about commissioning art rather than just going in and buying something that already exists. It can be very, very rewarding, and also can be, sometimes, disappointing. We’ve been very fortunate in the commissioning that we have done.”

(“Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday”)

Steven Sorman, an artist known for doing horizontal pieces, was asked to create a piece for one of the walls inside the Champions Center, between the entrances to our auditorium. Instead of one long painting, however, Sorman created something much different.

In this video clip, Don reflects on the piece and its name: “Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday.”

The company’s art collection includes a few other pieces by Sorman.

Artist Tom Rose was asked to create something on the wall opposite of the auditorium and Sorman’s paintings. The space for Rose’s work is near several meeting rooms, and Rose based his piece on that.

(“Four Lessons”)

“So he came up with this series of these abstracted objects that, depending on upon how you look at them, can really be interpreted as things that are used here,” Don says. “They’re kind of table-like or easel-like, blackboard-like, going back to the precursor of white boards.”

Rose’s piece is called “Four Lessons.” Being that General Mills is a food company, those lessons focus on food.

In this video interview, Don expands more on what the four lessons are about, and why he likes the piece so much.

Don continues to care for the company’s art collection but is no longer the curator on a full-time basis.

Editor’s note: This post concludes our look this month at some of Don McNeil’s favorite pieces in the General Mills art collection at our headquarters. Here is the first post in the series, along with the second and third. Don talked about the purpose and function of art at General Mills in this post. And, we featured five of the outdoor art pieces on the General Mills campus back in July, beginning with this post.