Public Art Sculptures Celebrate Art and Water in the City
July 22, 2008 (MINNEAPOLIS)—Minneapolis leaders today unveiled the designs for ten new public art sculptures designed to celebrate the City’s commitment to creating art that enhances our neighborhoods in a city known for its dynamic arts and culture. The project also celebrates our city’s history, shaped by its connection to the Mississippi River, and is part of the City’s 150th anniversary. In the Heart of the Beast Puppet Mask Theater performed an excerpt from "Beneath the Surface" to kick off the event, which was held at the Guthrie Theater.
"We are the city of waters that is also a center for arts and culture," Mayor R.T. Rybak said. "We not only celebrate public art and support local artists, we are a place where you can walk down the street and get a free drink of quality public water, instead of more and more water out of plastic bottles that clog our landfills. These beautiful sculptures are public art with a practical purpose and a symbolic message."
Each year Minneapolis invests dollars to support public art installations through its Art in Public Places Program, which has been part of the City’s Capital Improvement Program since 1992. The program has funded more than 35 public art projects throughout the city. The drinking fountain project was inspired by "Invigorate the Common Well," a multi-year public art/public health project by Sandy Spieler, Artistic Director of In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre and the Tomales Bay Institute.
For many years, the City has used Public Works construction projects as a way to enhance the community through public art. A few examples of public art projects include: "Hale Page Diamond Lake Gateway: Cottontail on the Trail," the 11-foot bronze bunny at Minnehaha Parkway at Portland Avenue; "Powderhorn Gateway: Teahouse on Powderhorn Lake," the brightly-colored lattice work evoking rays of sunshine; "Pages"—excerpts from books etched into the exterior glass at the East Lake Library; benches downtown at Grant Street E, between 1st and 2nd avenues and 1411 Nicollet Avenue; "Turning Leaves" at the North Regional Library where wooden benches beckon visitors into the library; the "Northeast Gateway" at Broadway Street and Central Avenue marks the entrance into Northeast Minneapolis.
For this project Public Works plays a key role as the department is working to make quality water accessible to everyone and also educating the public about water conservation issues.
Fountains will be found throughout the city at locations that celebrate the story of water in Minneapolis. The sites, chosen by the Minneapolis Arts Commission, include: Second Avenue, Marquette Avenue, the Mozaic Development in Uptown, NorthPoint Health and Wellness Center, Hennepin County Central Library, Hennepin County Northeast Library, Chicago Avenue Mall, Midtown YWCA, Ancient Trader’s Market and Dinkytown.
Fountains were designed by local artists: Mayumi Amada; Lisa Elias; Douglas Freeman; Gita Ghei, Sara Hanson and Jan Louise Kusske; Seitu Jones; Andrew MacGuffie; Peter Morales; Marjorie Pitz.
"I am pleased that water fountains are now a part of the City’s public art collection" said Paul Ostrow, 1st Ward City Council Member. "And, I am thrilled that one of the fountains will be in the Northeast arts district."
The project also involves partners in the community that will help make the project possible by assisting with daily and annual maintenance for the fountains. Community partners include: The Ackerberg Group, NorthPoint Health and Wellness Center, Guthrie Theater, YWCA, and Great Neighborhoods! Development Corp.
"Uptown and the Chain of Lakes go hand in hand; this water fountain will deepen our connection and add to the vibrancy of Uptown," said Thatcher Imboden, of the The Ackerberg Group, a community partner for the fountain in Uptown. "We are excited to be a partner on this project which will provide visitors, residents and employees access to public art and public water."
"Water nourishes the body, art nourishes the soul," said partner Paul Erickson, of the NorthPoint Health and Wellness Center. "The City’s water fountains project is a wonderful coming together of those two truths. A community is healthy when its artists thrive, when its water is good and accessible." The Center will maintain the fountain at Plymouth and Penn Avenues North.
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Contact: Krista Bergert, Communications, CPED, (612) 673-5015
Published Jul. 22, 2008