UAA | University Art Analysis – Meet ‘Archibald’ the mechanical moose

A foreign species of moose has made his home on the UAA campus, and the happiness he spreads is invasive.

Bonnie Nygard’s “Welded Moose” watches students passing by the Automotive Diesel Technology Building. Photo by Robert Gant.

Bonnie Nygard has filled many roles in her time at UAA. Currently, Nygard is the Director of Workforce Development. Nygard served as Interim Dean of the UAA Community and Technical College, or CTC, from 2014-2016. During that time, she became the mother to a very unconventional moose.

“Archibald,” a welded hodgepodge of automotive parts in the form of a moose outside of the Automotive Diesel Technology Building, is Nygard’s creation. She created the mechanical moose as part of a non-credit welding art class offered by the UAA CTC.

“When I took this class, I was serving as Interim Dean of CTC, so my goal was to bring some fun and attention to that part of campus, with a focus on the automotive, diesel and welding technology programs,” Nygard said. “I sure hope students and campus visitors enjoy ‘Archibald.’”

A closer look at Bonnie Nygard’s detailed welding work on “Welded Moose” in the grass by the Automotive Diesel Technology Building. Photo by Robert Gant.

The automotive technology faculty donated a vast array of car parts for the sculpture. Closer inspection of “Archibald” reveals a snout composed of a car fender, diesel brake hooves and numerous welded gears forming his torso.

Nygard attests that this contribution from the faculty reflects the passion that goes into the automotive, diesel and welding technology programs at the university.

“My instructor, Cindy Shake, allowed me to put in extra time in order to complete the project,” Nygard said. “Cindy was an outstanding instructor, so much credit goes to her expertise and creativity.”

- Advertisement -

According to an article from UAA’s Green & Gold News, Shake’s class is “not your traditional classroom setting,” but draws in everyone from grandmas to art students, radiologists, optometrists and police officers.

Nygard aimed to capture the diversity of students from all walks of life convening to learn new skills in “Archibald.”

Even students who have no involvement in the CTC take note of the welded moose’s presence. Kaitlyn Miracle is a senior environment and society major who appreciates “Archibald.”

“I’ve always thought [‘Archibald’] was neat and gave the area character,” Miracle said. “He is a kind of rusty, rustic Alaskan.”

“Archibald” may not be a real moose, but the student interest on campus he represents is authentic. Just like the mechanical moose, UAA is welded together from many people that serve different parts and purposes. “Archibald” shows us that a diverse student body can collaborate to create exceptional things. When students pass between the Gord W Hartlieb Hall and the Automotive Diesel Technology Building, they may consider taking a moment to appreciate UAA’s own special species of moose.

Have you seen art at UAA you want to know more about? Contact Robert Gant at [email protected]