SCULPTURE/FOUNTAIN PLANNED FOR SOUTH CALHOUN LAKESHORE
In the agenda material for this coming Wednesday’s Park Board meeting, there is going to be a study report on a sculpture with fountain and seating area for the south shore of Calhoun adjacent to the new parking lot. The circular seating area will be about 30′ to 40′ in diameter.
It is a sculpture with a drinking fountain incorporated into the design. The sculpture is large and very modern. The Park Board will be contributing $15,000 to $20,000 toward this project.
According to the May 13, 2010 memo to the MPRB Planning Committee, Superintendent Gurban and staff met with city representatives Mary Altman and Paul Ogren to discuss the placement of this sculpture at Lake Calhoun. Brad Bourn, commissioner for the area, was not included in this meeting. After the meeting, MPRB staff – without direction of the Board – submitted an application to the City for the placement of this sculpture and fountain at Calhoun. It was selected by the Minneapolis Arts Commissioner’ Public Art Advisory Panel on May 5.
Here are some quotes from the memorandum:
“It will enliven a popular southwest Minneapolis intersection…”
“The bold color and scale will compel pedestrians, bicyclists and automobile users year around.”
“The artwork will be highly visible.”
“The bright and modern aesthetic will complement other contemporary public artworks in the Uptown/Lake Calhoun Areas.”
Fountains are desirable amenities, but I believe that there is reason to be concerned about this project.
1. Lake Calhoun is a well-known Minneapolis landmark and, with Lake Harriet, is the heart of the Chain of Lakes. The sculpture/fountain was designed for another location. Is it appropriate for this location? It was not designed for this specific site, but is being imposed upon it.
2. The area selected for this sculpture is already highly congested. What impact will this “dynamic sculpture that people will seek out to visit” have on the users (bikers, bladers windsurfers, etc.) of the area? I would suggest that anything attracting additional users to this area is bad planning–even dangerous planning. Congestion equals accidents.
3. Why was Commissioner Bourn excluded from the planning meeting? Why were Board members not informed of this project prior to the request for funding?
4. Why is this project going to be presented to the Lakes District Council AFTER Board approval? Why wasn’t the Lakes District Council informed of this proposed project at their last meeting?
5. Why wasn’t there public input on this project BEFORE asking for and receiving approval for funding by the Minneapolis Arts Commission’s Public Art Advisory Panel? Shouldn’t the users of Calhoun have had an opportunity to comment on this project?
6. The memo states that the “MPRB is willing to do the daily maintenance.” Considering that maintenance staff is being reduced, exactly who is left to take responsibility for “daily maintenance”?
7. And, finally, is this sculpture going to be an enhancement to Lake Calhoun or a controversial and unwanted irritant?
For further information, see the following websites:
Anyone having concerns about this project might want to be present at this Wednesday’s Park Board meeting when there will be a presentation to the Planning Committee.
Arlene Fried, Co-founder of Park Watch