NEMAA Member Receives National Recognition for Public Art

Passage, by Randy Walker
Passage, by Randy Walker

Passage, a temporary public art installation by Minneapolis artist, Randy Walker, has been named as one of the 50 best public art projects of the year by the Americans for the Artst 2012 Public Art Network Year in Review. Americans for the Arts is the nation's leading nonprofit organization for advancing the arts and arts education.

The annual Year in Review program recognizes the most exemplary, innovative, permanent or temporary public art works created or debuted in the past year. The 2012 Year in Review awardees were chosen from more than 393 works from 147 cities across 40 states and three countries.

Three independent public art experts—Jean Greer, principal at The Public Art Collaborative; Daniel Mihalyo, architect/artist at Lead Pencil Studio; and Celia Munoz, artist—curated the 2012 Year in Review. Their selections were announced on June 7 at the Americans for the Arts Public Art Preconference in San Antonio, Texas. The artists and commissioning organizations involved in creating and supporting these public art works received letters of congratulations and certificates from Americans for the Arts.

Walker's art installation, which adorned a 136-year-old wrought iron bridge at Lake Washington County Park in Le Sueur County, remained in place for four months last fall. Walker created the artwork by wrapping over 30,000 feet of colored acrylic fiber braid around the original truss structure to create a semi-transparent veil that fluttered in the breeze. The sculpture was meant to celebrate the historical structure as well as heighten awareness the pristine natural setting where it now rests as a pedestrian bridge over Shanaska Creek. In addition to its striking visual impact, Passage succeeded in attracting a significant amount of community dialogue, often taking place on the bridge itself. The fiber, now removed from the bridge, will be woven into new works by the local St. Peter Weavers, an informal group of textile artists.  To fund the project, Walker received a Minnesota State Arts Board Grant.

"By creating a sense of identity of places we inhabit, public art makes an enduring impact on our lives," said Robert L. Lynch, president and CEO of Americans for the Arts. "We congratulate the artists and commissioning groups of the 12th annual Public Art Year in Review and look forward for honoring more great works in the coming years."