Minne, the fiberglass creature that has bounced from one Minneapolis lake to another as a summertime adornment, has been getting too much hands-on love from admirers lately and was pulled Wednesday from Lake Calhoun.
The Loch Ness monster-like sculpture was removed because numerous people were making their way to Minne on paddleboards and climbing on its back and up the long neck of the 13-foot-tall piece of artwork.
Several photos posted Wednesday on Minne’s Twitter account, @LakeCreature, show people clambering all over the sculpture.
The abrupt drylanding of Minne was “out of concern over damage and for the safety of both Minne and Minneapolitans,” said Janette Law, director of external relations for the Minneapolis Parks Foundation, which helps financially support the city’s Park and Recreation Board.
Jeremy Hernandez was passing by Minne on Sunday and noticed three young men making a playground of the artwork. At one point, the weight of the three twisted and nearly submerged the sculpture.
“I was not looking for that,” said Hernandez, of St. Paul, explaining the spontaneous photo opportunity. “I was just taking pictures around the lake.”
A boat went out about 9:30 a.m. Wednesday and removed Minne from the western edge of the lake, Law said. It’s now at its usual out-of-season storage location in northeast Minneapolis, where it will be repaired in time for placement next year at a yet-to-be-determined locale, she said.
Law said she “can’t say specifically at this time” about what will be done to keep people off Minne, “but we will be looking at what our options are.” Regulations prevent the Parks Foundation from posting “no climbing” signage on or near Minne.
Minne, the creation of artist Cameron Gainer, has been bopping around various Minneapolis lakes since 2009, first in Lake Harriet. It’s also been in Lake of the Isles, Lake Calhoun, Wirth Lake, Brownie Lake, Powderhorn Lake, Lake Hiawatha and Lake Nokomis.
The June-to-September display has been popular with lake visitors, many of whom stop to take selfies from the shoreline with the creature in the background.
Park and Recreation spokeswoman Dawn Sommers blamed the sudden incidents of people climbing on Minne on riders of paddleboards, which make it easy for people to leave the board for a hug.
“You wouldn’t climb out of a kayak or a paddleboat,” Sommers said. “No one would do that.”
Sommers added there’s no legal consequence for Minne’s overzealous fans, saying the concern is more “a matter of protecting the art.”
The sculpture was inspired by a legendary 1934 photo that supposedly depicted the Loch Ness monster. Gainer created it in his Brooklyn, N.Y., studio, where he lived before moving to Minneapolis. He showed it in the Flatbush neighborhood of Brooklyn before the Minneapolis Parks Foundation brought it to Minneapolis.