Artist gifts second monumental sculpture to USC Upstate

January 3, 2019 at 11:13 am

A prize-winning sculpture will be a permanent fixture at the University of South Carolina Upstate. Atlanta-based artist Scott Strader has gifted his work “Tear of Illian” to the university, his second contribution to USC Upstate following his gift this past year of the aluminum “Annulus” sculpture. Both pieces are on display between the John C. Stockwell Administration Building and the campus Library.

“Tear of Illian” by Scott Strader.

“I am pleased to include Scott Strader in our growing collection of outdoor monumental sculptures,” said Jane Allen Nodine, a distinguished professor emerita and director of USC Upstate’s Gallery on Main. “The clarity of his designs and refined craftsmanship in the work makes it highly desirable for our permanent collection.”

Nodine said “Tear of Illian” brings the university’s collection of monumental works up to 16. She plans to double that amount during the next two years.

“The outdoor sculpture collection brings the sophistication of a cosmopolitan community to the Upstate campus,” she said. “It enhances the landscape and serves as a valuable resource for students and faculty when researching or seeking source material. With the Upstate campus located at the crossroads of interstates 85 and 26, we are a superb location in the Southeast for travelers to stop and view the collection free-of-charge, 24/7.”

Nodine said she connected with Strader in 2017, when USC Upstate agreed to co-host the annual Tri-State Sculpture conference held at Converse College in the fall of 2018. Strader agreed to loan Upstate three of his works for the event, including “Tear of Illian,” “Annulus,” and “Furious Angel,” which was removed after he sold it this past fall.

The artist said “Tear of Illian,” inspired by a book authored by Robert Jordan, is crafted from stainless steel and resembles a drop of rain on a jewelry bezel. Strader said “Annulus” resembles an engagement ring turned upside down.

“I am very pleased to make this gift to USC Upstate,” Strader said. “It’s very exciting to know that two of my works will be on display at the university permanently. They’re made from stainless steel and aluminum. They’re never going to rust; never going to go away.”

Strader earned his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Georgia Southern University in 1990 and a Master of Fine Arts degree from Georgia State University in 1992. He served as an assistant to Atlanta artist Caroline Montague from 1990 to 1995.

Strader is the owner and CEO of Mercury Metals Inc., a metal fabrication and art installation business in Decatur, a community northeast of Atlanta. The artist said he strives to create tension and balance and likes to give each piece a sense of movement. Strader prides his focus on hiding welds to give his works a look of being poured as opposed to being fabricated.

For more information about how to benefit USC Upstate, please contact University Advancement at 864-503-5234.

About USC Upstate

The University of South Carolina Upstate is a regional comprehensive university offering more than 40 undergraduate and graduate programs in the liberal arts and sciences, business administration, nursing, and education. Located along the I-85 corridor in Spartanburg between Greenville and Charlotte, USC Upstate is ranked by U.S. News & World Report at #2 among Top Public Schools. It serves as a major talent producer for the region, with more than 6,000 students, approximately 1,300 new graduates a year, and nearly 30,000 alumni, many of whom live and work in the state. The USC Upstate Spartans compete in 17 NCAA Division 1 sports as a member of the Big South Conference. For more information, visit


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