The violent storms that ripped through the metro area on June 21 and 22 downed massive trees, took out power lines and caused major property damage, but somehow, Allison Luedtke's 17-foot-tall temporary art installation, "Big Water Collective," escaped unscathed.
"That thing did not budge, will not budge; it might've been the only thing left standing in Wayzata," said Luedtke.
She created the sculpture as part of the 10th annual Wayzata Art Experience. Although the art show was canceled because of the storm, Big Water Collective has remained standing since being installed by Wayzata Public Works on June 10 in front of the Wayzata Train Depot on Lake Minnetonka.
Over the summer, Big Water Collective has served as a creative outlet for community members, who have added something new to it almost every day.
"We have had an unbelievable amount of things put onto [the sculpture], all positive, all inspiring. It's taken on a life of its own," said Luedtke, who left a note by the sculpture encouraging people to add to it.
People have artistically woven in messages such as "Call your grandpa every day," "Peace" and "Integrity," made wind chimes, constructed artful designs out of old Caribou cups and McDonald's wrappers, and, in a touching tribute, someone added an old, weathered photo of a baby with its birth and death dates noted on the back.
Luedtke visits the site every few days and tries to tie down and preserve new additions.
The sculpture's tall, curving, triangular shape was inspired by the teepees and canoes used by the Dakota Indians, who lived around Lake Minnetonka until the mid-1800s. She hopes to find a permanent site for the sculpture when it is taken down at the end of the summer.
One possible location is the Minnetonka Center for the Arts, where Luedtke learned her craft. The center sponsored the project, along with the Wayzata City Council. Luedtke, who built the Big Water Collective pro bono over a period of 3½ weeks, couldn't be happier with the result.
"People shouldn't have to drive to downtown Minneapolis to view public art, and I think that the overwhelming community response shows that there's a great appreciation for public art out in the suburbs," she said.