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Memorandum September 14, 2022

American University Community
Jonathan McCann, Assistant Vice President, Planning and Project Management
Marabar art exhibit to be on permanent display at American University

An exciting new addition is coming to our campus this fall. Marabar, an art exhibit gifted to American University by the National Geographic Society, will be located in the ellipse-shaped area of grass behind Kay Spiritual Life Center (see attachment). The original artist, Elyn Zimmerman, has reimagined her work, originally located at National Geographic’s downtown headquarters since 1984, to fit within the fabric of space available at the university. Installation of Marabar requires some construction at the site and we wanted to inform you about the changes you will see. 

Next Monday, September 19, work will begin to support delivery and temporary storage of the boulders that are part of the installation, which includes a partially elevated paver plaza with a reflecting pool. The project includes a half dozen large granite boulders integral to the plaza with associated landscape construction, including additional boulders flanking the sculpture itself. This work will require a crane at the site, as well as multiple truck deliveries of boulders. It is anticipated that there will be intermittent impacts to vehicular and pedestrian traffic during crane set-up and delivery of the boulders. This may include brief delays to vehicular traffic and/or the redirection of pedestrian traffic. Construction fencing, signage, protection barriers, and flag persons will be used by the contractor to ensure safety while performing the work. Deliveries of the boulders are expected to be completed by the end of the month.  

Marabar will be a unique feature on our campus and contribute to our scholarship in the arts. We appreciate your patience and support during the construction period. We will keep the community informed of any additional activities with notable impacts over the course of the project, which is currently anticipated to be completed by the end of December 2022.  

For questions or concerns please contact Tony Cortes, Director of Capital Program Management, at or (202) 885-3989.