Why not field a dream team of local artists to design Twins ballpark?

  • Article by: BARBARA FLANAGAN
  • Updated: January 1, 2006 - 7:33 PM

The Flanagan Memo -- Re: The New Year --what to expect or the unexpected, and a few thoughts about last year or the day before yesterday.

The Flanagan Memo -- Re: The New Year --what to expect or the unexpected, and a few thoughts about last year or the day before yesterday.

Think big!

Let's dive in and think humongous for 2006!

• Let's consider asking several local artists to design a new ballpark for the Minnesota Twins. Who comes to mind?

Aldo Moroni, for one. He's a hilarious but well-established artist who has built all sorts of mini-buildings -- I own one and I love it.

Match him with the incredible, super-talented Siah Armajani, whose current show at the Weinstein Gallery -- his first in Minnesota -- ends this weekend. Besides designing the Irene Hixon Whitney pedestrian bridge from Loring Park to the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, he has done dozens of works around the world.

Add a quiet status symbol such as Stuart Nielsen, an artist who works on pieces for public sites and knows what might go. He would be another asset.

Put these guys together, find them some money and say "go for it." I'll bet their version of a stadium would be a knockout.

• Go with design review. Talk the Minneapolis City Council and Mayor R.T. Rybak into endorsing a six-month trial plan of a design review board. Put architect John Cuningham, who has long advocated the idea, in charge, and let's see what could be suggested as buildings that need help. The design review board, for those who still wonder, would act as a consulting body for city officials when civic projects are being considered or when developers want to build a monster.

Honoring J. Paul Getty

In 2006, I'd like to ask why the J. Paul Getty birthplace isn't on our list of historic sites. Getty, the oil billionaire who collected art and built a gallery in California, was born in downtown Minneapolis on S. 9th Street, between Portland and Park Avs. The townhouse still stands.

And while we're at it, we might put a plaque on the Rev. Billy Graham's former headquarters on Harmon Place between 12th and Spruce Place, also in downtown Minneapolis.

Cheers!

As for salutes in 2006 to people who enjoy being alive, well:

• Kathleen Ridder for her book "Stories by Minnesota Women in Sports: Leveling the Playing Field" (North Star Press of St. Cloud Inc., 320 pages, $16.95) It's on sale at bookstores now. She is also saluted by all of us who work out, because our trainers picked her as 2005 Woman of the Year at the Minneapolis Club. Brava!

• Osmo Vänskä, music director of the Minnesota Orchestra, for being named 2005 Conductor of the Year by Musical America. This month the second disc in the orchestra's recordings of the Beethoven symphonies will be released. It features Symphonies No. 3 and 8 and continues one of the most ambitious projects in the orchestra's recording history.

• Ben Whitney, now to be known as Benton K. Whitney, who has been appointed U.S. ambassador to Norway. Among those on hand for his swearing-in in Washington, D.C., was his father, Wheelock Whitney, who tells everybody that he is now known as "the father of an ambassador and the husband of the Minnesota Supreme Court chief justice." Kathleen Blatz, his wife, stepped down from the bench last month.

• Pat Murray, for just being Pat Murray, the operator of Murray's great restaurant, the last downtown of the Big Five -- Charlie's Café Exceptionale, Harry's, Freddie's, Schiek's Cafe and Murray's. Long may it serve that angel pie.

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