"Fallen Star" by Do Ho Suh at UC San Diego. Photo by Philipp Scholz Rittermann
“Fallen Star” by Do Ho Suh at UC San Diego. Photo by Philipp Scholz Rittermann

A $1 million gift announced this week will help UC San Diego preserve and grow its internationally renowned, 18-piece collection of public artwork.

The site-specific sculptures make up the Stuart Collection, which was launched more than three decades ago with the now famous “Sun God” by Niki de Saint Phalle.

"Sun God" by Niki de Saint Phalle
“Sun God” by Niki de Saint Phalle. Photo by Philipp Scholz Ritterman

The new gift by Mary Looker of Manhattan Beach will establish an endowment to help foster the growth of the art collection for years to come.

“The sculptures that comprise the Stuart Collection, created by some of the most eminent artists of our time, lend a unique distinction to UC San Diego,” said Chancellor Pradeep K. Khosla.

“We are fortunate to have these contemporary works to enrich and engage the campus and local community, and we are grateful to Mary Looker and all of our generous supporters.”

Looker is a member of the Friends of the Stuart Collection, a network of 130 arts enthusiasts who help fund new projects.

The collection was started by James Stuart DeSilva, a San Diego businessman who built a successful tuna fishing fleet. He used his middle name for the collection to deflect attention from himself.

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.