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Minneapolis, Minnesota’s Inclusion of Sculptural Art Act...

Minneapolis, Minnesota’s Inclusion of Sculptural Art Activates its Public Spaces

Minneapolis, Minnesota is considered a city with a strong passion for art, with many theaters and art museums scattered throughout the urban fabric of the community. One big giveaway of the metro area’s devotion to the art culture is the way that sculptural pieces are incorporated throughout the public spaces of the city, including areas

The "Spoonbridge and Cherry" sculpture in the Walker Art Center Sculpture Garden. The Minneapolis skyline is shown rising in the distance. Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Minneapolis, Minnesota is considered a city with a strong passion for art, with many theaters and art museums scattered throughout the urban fabric of the community. One big giveaway of the metro area’s devotion to the art culture is the way that sculptural pieces are incorporated throughout the public spaces of the city, including areas popular for visitors of the city to explore.

One popular tourist attraction of Minneapolis is the Walker Art Center’s Sculpture Garden. This is home to many famous pieces, including the cliché Minneapolis icon, the “Spoonbridge and Cherry” piece. The immense popularity of this public art display shows both the immense passion for sculptural design along with how – if done appropriately – it can program a normal space into a popular event area.

Another example is “The Glove” sculpture located on “Target Plaza,” a space that sits just outside of Target Field, the stadium home to the Major League Baseball team, the Minnesota Twins. This larger-than-life bronze baseball glove is incredibly popular among fans going to ball games and almost always has a long line of people waiting to have their picture taken sitting on the “glove throne.” It not only changed the dynamic of the plaza but is a focal point of activity.

The Bronze Glove sculpture outside of the gates to the Minnesota Twin's stadium Target Field. In the summer during the professional baseball season, this is a popular spot for photos. The interior of the stadium is seen in the distance. Minneapolis, Minnesota.

An example of this outside of Minneapolis is the “Cloud Gate” sculpture, more commonly known as “The Bean” in downtown Chicago. The addition of an iconic sculpture has brought the plaza where it sits to life as tourists fight crowds to walk around and under the curvilinear piece to take photos. It changed the dynamic of how the entire plaza works.

Cloud Gate is a sculpture in the heart of downtown Chicago, Illinois.

In Minneapolis, sculptures are present in spaces which people encounter during their everyday activities such as in medians, in the entryway of buildings, as monuments, and as other features. In some areas, sculptures actually help serve a function. An example of this is on a plaza outside of the Minneapolis Courthouse, a place where security is incredibly necessary. The plaza is designed to aesthetically bring safety to the front entryway of the courthouse in the form of small grassy “hills” that serve as barriers against vehicular traffic from the road. The hills are further enhanced by the planting of trees, the placement of benches, and the inclusion of many small sculptural characters that bring the plaza to life.

Outside of the Minneapolis Courthouse, little sculptural characters liven up the grassy hills which act as security barriers. Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Such creative inclusion of art into a society can have very positive effects that go beyond aesthetics. The mood of a space is heavily reliant on the art that is present and the way in which it is presented. Sculptural forms of art are incredibly popular primarily because you can interact with them. As with the Glove at Target Field, Cloud Gate (“The Bean”) in Chicago, and the Minneapolis Courthouse Plaza, the sculptural forms allows a person to physically interact with the art. The ability to physically interact with a piece of art cannot be found in a painting, picture, or movie; it is unique to sculptural forms. Because of this, these pieces can bring to life areas of a city that would otherwise be dull by comparison.

Do you have any examples of sculptural art having a positive impact in your community? If so, do you also have examples of it having a negative impact? Share your experiences and thoughts in the comments below.

Credits: Images by Wyatt Prosch. Data linked to sources.

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Wyatt Prosch is currently a student at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities pursuing a degree in the Bachelor of Design in Architecture. Born and raised in Minnesota, his passion for architecture has been encouraged by the incredible design of th...

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