David Griggs – Ghost Steps

David Griggs

Ghost Steps

Dichroic glass
Commission, Wisconsin Arts Board Percent for Art Program

Intertwining the present with the past, Ghost Steps by David Griggs is an installation of staircases made of glass and metal that ascends two floors. Through the process of sandblasting and photo-emulsion, each stair tread is etched with historic images from the University of Wisconsin-Madison archive. In doing so, Griggs suggests layers of memory for the many generations associated with the university. As students use the staircase, Ghost Steps asks them to consider the thousands of people who have walked on the same floorboards. The sculpture is especially appropriate in the Armory & Gymnasium, a National Historic Landmark, as the building has had many different functions, including military drills, basketball games, and formal dances over the course of the university’s life.

David Griggs is a Colorado-based artist focused on public, site responsive artwork. He frequently creates architectural interventions that respond to the formal elements of buildings as well as social, cultural, and environmental qualities of the site. He has completed numerous public commissions across the United States.


Ghost Steps is located inside the Armory & Gymnasium (Red Gym) building above the main stairwell. Enter through the main doors at 716 Langdon Street and turn right.


David Griggs webpage on “Ghost Steps.”

David Griggs - Ghost Steps