Osseous - CODAworx


Submitted by Claire de Boer

Client: Penn State College of Medicine, Harrell Health Sciences Library

Location: Hershey, PA, United States

Completion date: 2016

Artwork budget: $35,000

Project Team


Kate Kaman


Joel Erland

Art Consultant

Claire de Boer

Penn State College of Medicine


Osseous: The 3D-printed, cast aluminum scientific art installation represents the careful observation of knowledge. Nine pieces, each weighing 52 pounds, measuring a total of 9’ x 9’x 4.10”, are integrated together to form a seamless work of art in the Penn State College of Medicine Library with special attention given to the light that cast shadows on the wall.


Bone tissue, or osseous tissue, is the major structural and supportive connective tissue of the body. Its complex organic geometries are both beautiful and strong. The artistic concept was to make what is usually only visible under the microscope visible to all users of the Harrell Health Sciences Library

The fabrication process began with a detailed three-dimensional laser scan of actual bone tissue. This file was then CNC-milled into hundreds of foam sections. The foam pieces were sand cast in molten aluminum, and the resulting aluminum pieces were welded together and finished with a powder coating.

The end result is an art piece that uses science as the basis for design and construction. Similarly, the students in the library are using their scientific backgrounds to study the art of medicine.


A local professional artist recommended artists Kate Kaman and Joel Erland to Claire de Boer, director of Center Stage Arts in Health, when she was seeking proposals for the College of Medicine Lobby art. The Public Art Committee at Penn State Health reviewed proposals and went in a different direction for the Lobby. The committee, however, was intrigued by Kate and Joel’s proposal. After a lively discussion, they determined to engage Kate and Joel for art in the Library during renovations that were underway. The proposal evolved with collaboration between, Claire, Kate, Joel, the Public Art Committee, library staff, facilities, structural engineers, and the renovation architect. Kate worked with a Penn State Health diagnostic radiologist to obtain the images of the bone tissue. The art was designed, finalized, and cast. It was delivered and installed in the Library in 2016.

Additional Information

This art piece was created specifically for the space it occupies. Art that integrates science in the medical school library serves as inspiration to the students. The piece is installed above a 3D printing lab in the library. Artist Kate Kaman spent many hours during the installation to perfect the light and shadows of the installation. Nine track-mounted LED lights provide illuminated precision as the final highlight of the art.