STEM Center to receive sculpture

A new edition to Tech’s STEM Center is big news.Brad Sells, a local artist, is sculpting a giant wooden eagle with a 15-foot wingspan to be hung in the entrance of Tech’s new STEM Center.

Sells and Tech’s first lady, Gloria Bell, have been collaborating for years about a wooden sculpture to be placed somewhere on Tech’s campus. As a Tech Alumni, Sells is thrilled about this project.

“This is a fun project, my whole family went to Tech; my parents, brother and I,” Sells said. “Tech is a tremendous asset to the community, and I’m completely honored to be able to do a project for the school. It means a lot to me.”

The eagle, a symbol of art and science, will host several symbolic scientific formulas and methods under its belly and along its wings.

“As a student I studied that eagle in the UC, so the eagle made sense. And to tie it in with the theme of the building, which is science, it just seemed logical,” Sells said.

“As a sculptor, I feel I am a scientist of form. When it comes to art, it is mostly inspired by nature, as is science. That’s sort of how the two parallel.”

The tree, from which the eagle’s body is carved, was originally a five-foot diameter red oak with an interesting past.

“This was a huge red oak tree taken from the Bank of Putnam County on 10th and Fisk. This tree has seen a lot of Cookeville,” Sells said. “I would guess it’s around 200 years old.”

This 200-300 pound eagle is designed to be a visual aid to inspire young students to pursue a career in science.

“Here’s this great animal, this powerful animal that’s such a symbol of power, grace, beauty and strength. I’m making a parallel to science. Think about all the physics and mathematics this bird takes to track down an animal,” Sells said. “Hopefully this will create a curiosity, maybe a broader understanding of the connection between science and nature.