Minneapolis is loaded with public art. Now there are maps to help people find it.
The city and the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board on Thursday launched new online interactive tours of 300 pieces of publicly accessible artwork across the city. The idea is to help locals and visitors easily explore artworks by car, bike or on foot.
“It’s really important the public understands what the artworks are really about,” said Mary Altman, the city’s public arts administrator. “It tells the story of the city, it tells the unique story of neighborhoods, and it also supports artists.”
The interactive maps online at arcg.is/mplsart feature sculptures, artwork on bridges and mosaics. They provide information on each work, its artist and directions to the art using Google Maps. The tours are organized by geography: north, east, downtown, southeast, south and southwest.
There’s “Three Forms: The Lake Street Bubbler,” a drinking fountain and bench sculpture by Gita Ghei, Sara Hanson and Jan Louise Kusske at the YWCA at E. Lake Street and 22nd Avenue S. The railings on the Van White Bridge over railroads to the North Side? They feature the work of artist Seitu Jones. In Loring Park, visitors can find a granite and bronze statue of famed Norwegian violinist Ole Bull by Jacob Fjelde.
To celebrate the new maps Thursday morning, public officials led a short Nice Ride bicycle tour across the Stone Arch Bridge to the Marcy-Holmes Gateway, also known as “Sixth Avenue Stroll” by artist Aldo Moroni. The work, described by the online tour as an open-air pedestrian gallery with 24 pieces, features “miniature bronze interpretations of local historic landmarks.”
Moroni said public art is in a unique position in a politically charged climate. Art is not about the creator, he said, but more about the people. Addressing recent controversies around Confederate statues and monuments around the country, he said “offensive” sculptures should be removed.
“The statues and images and sculptures and the public art around needs to speak to us,” Moroni said. “It needs to be inclusive of all of us.”
Park planner and designer Colleen O’Dell said the goal of the project is to get more people excited about artwork. If people want to submit public artwork to be added to the maps, she said, they should contact the Park Board or the city’s Public Works Department.
“We both think public art is important,” O’Dell said. “We are joining together to elevate this and the importance of art in public space.”