Oct. 10—In August, Northwestern welcomed the installation of the Apostles’ Table, a campus water feature designed and installed by studio art graduate Luke Grothe ’10. Because of his previous experience with water features, Grothe was approached for the project by Joe Smith ’92, MFA, chair of the Department of Art & Design.
Generously funded by the estate of Dr. William and Beryl Berntsen, Bryan and Amy Carey, and the TIH Foundation in honor of Jake and Marge Barnett, the Apostles’ Table consists of 12 rocks—cut from rainbow granite found in Morton, Minn.—situated in various distances from the center table. Water flows peacefully over the table’s surface and rushes down into a circular nest of small rocks.
Grothe wanted to create a rich experience for people viewing the fountain by mining Scripture for inspiration and referencing as many biblical passages as possible.
“From the Israelites stacking twelve stones as a reminder of what God had done for them after crossing the Jordan, to Jesus washing the disciples’ feet—all were in one way or another influential and inspirational,” Grothe remarked.
The decision to use rocks in the overall design also stemmed from the rock being a symbol on campus. Not only is the fountain meant to awaken spiritual interpretation in people’s minds, but it also provides an aesthetically pleasing place for students to gather. Grothe mentioned that as a student he “loved being able to tell someone that [he] was going to meet them at the fountain.”
Installed between the Totino Fine Arts Center and the Billy Graham Community Life Commons, the Apostles’ Table joins the Trinity sculpture on the new Campus Green. “I’ve been told that Mrs. Totino was adamant about every ‘proper building’ having a fountain out front,” Grothe said. “So in that regard I’m glad we could replace the old one for her.”