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Santa Clara University’s Mane Attraction

Artist Adrian Landon is pleased with his work, “The Mechanical Horse,” a metal sculpture he completed last year.

“‘The Mechanical Horse’ is suspended from cables from the frame so the horse can gallop in the air,” said Landon, currently based in Reno. “The horse is made with stainless steel and an aluminum base, one electric motor that powers everything, sprocket and chain. All the parts on this newer model are designed on a computer and laser cut. The outer body parts are sculpted by hand.

“I had the extreme privilege to grow up riding horses,” continued Landon, who grew up in New York City. “My father and my grandfather grew up riding horses. For me, I’ve come to realize a lot of what I am expressing in my horse sculptures are their raw energy and beauty, freedom and wildness.”


On Sept. 25, Santa Clara University (SCU) hosted an artist reception for Landon to showcase “The Mechanical Horse,” the school’s new art installation and interactive exhibit at the Sobrato Campus for Discovery and Innovation’s (SCDI) North Lobby located at 500 El Camino Real Building #402 in Santa Clara. SCU President Julie Sullivan and Santa Clara Mayor Lisa Gillmor attended the event.

The installation will be on display through Jan. 21, 2024 at SCU during SCDI’s open hours. The art installation was made possible by a partnership between SCU and the City of Santa Clara’s Cultural Commission.

“We are always looking for opportunities to bring the University community and the Santa Clara community together, so it gives the students, faculty and staff a chance to get to know community members throughout the City of Santa Clara,” said Butch Coyne, Director of SCU Presents of the Performing Arts Center.

According to Coyne, the partnership was set in motion when Debra von Huene, Vice-Chair of the City of Santa Clara’s Cultural Commission, approached him and said she had seen a mechanical horse. She inquired if bringing the horse into the community was a project members of SCU could work on jointly with the Cultural Commission.

“The Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences saw some key reasons why we should bring this in,” Coyne said. “The art display is a horse and our school mascot is the Bronco. This art display gives us an opportunity to show how art and science can go together. Also, the art display is in the STEM building where engineering students in robotics, for example, can see this work of art and understand how art, science and mechanics can come together.

“In partnership with the City and SCU Presents, we shared the fee to bring the artist’s work on campus,” Coyne continued. “The City wanted to see how we can put this mechanical horse on campus to make its viewing available to everybody. The goal is for the University community to feel comfortable going into the City of Santa Clara, and for the people of Santa Clara to feel comfortable coming onto our campus.”


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