“Meander,” a row of 28 sculptural pillars that will wind gracefully along a pathway mimicking the course of the Mississippi River, has been selected as the public art that will dress up the west plaza — facing downtown St. Paul — of the new Lowertown ballpark.
The decision on the art for the new $63 million, 7,000-seat venue, which will become home to the St. Paul Saints starting in 2015, came down to “Meander” and “Field Condition,” a wall-mounted sculpture of 735 aluminum baseball bats, with LED lights in the end of each bat to animate real-life swing patterns and speeds.
The Lowertown Ballpark Design and Construction Committee decided on “Meander,” which reflects local history. The final choice was largely made by a committee of eight artists, designers, and city and team officials. The public also got a chance to register preferences via an online survey that concluded earlier this month.
“We drew our inspiration for ‘Meander’ from the Mississippi River, which is such an integral part of St. Paul,” said John Kim from Futures North, the firm designing the ballpark’s $170,000 piece of public art.
The 28 pillars call to mind the 28 locks and dams on the Upper Mississippi between St. Louis and St. Anthony Falls in Minneapolis. Each pillar will be artistically fabricated out of cast glass and masonry — made from silica and lime harvested from the Mississippi River Valley. Both materials also have been crucial to the industrial history of St. Paul. The glass cap of each piece will contain an embedded LED light, illustrating the changing water conditions of the river and organically reacting to viewers’ presence.
Now that the design has been selected, Futures North will finalize the sculptural and interactive electronic elements of the artwork and develop prototypes to test the materials to be used in the piece.