Drivers, watch out for UTEP students taking graduation pictures under the iconic Mining Minds pickaxe sculpture.


Over the last decade, one of the most popular spots on campus to take graduation pictures has been near the Mining Minds sculpture.

The Mining Minds sculpture is a 25-foot-tall pickaxe head partly buried in a rock garden within the Sun Bowl-University roundabout created by Denver-based artist/sculptor Michael Clapper.

Laura Trejo

As students begin to flock to the favored photo spot, drivers are distracted as they take the roundabout near I-10.

Let’s face it, El Paso drivers are looky-loos; we get distracted easily, and when paired up with a roundabout, things get interesting.

Need I mention the time when El Pasoans complained about being distracted by the Airway Lights public art installation that they tried to have it removed?

Truth be told, though, El Pasoans do get distracted easily.


Over the last month or so, I have seen students flock to the roundabout location to take the perfect photo op as I often cut through Sun Bowl to avoid both Mesa and the freeway altogether.

As graduation nears, the Mining Pickaxe location is seeing a lot more traffic from students posing under the sculpture that campus police are on the scene helping to direct traffic.


As more students head out to take their graduation photos near any outdoor location, let’s all be mindful of our surroundings. While we all love seeing hopeful graduates happily take their pictures, we want to make sure everyone is doing so safely.


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