If it hadn’t been for “the Spider”, we probably wouldn’t have gotten around to the Western Sculpture Park this summer. It’s in a busy area of town, sandwiched between University and Interstate 94 and about a mile west of the Capitol. But I had caught wind of this mobile art workshop (hosted by PublicArtSt.Paul to clarify the awkward acronym) and made a point to pencil it in on the calendar.
The arachnid’s limbs provide the frame for shady tents under which various art projects were taking place when we arrived Tuesday afternoon. Kids were crafting mallets for an ultra-colorful game of croquet on the lawn and drawing pictures from magazines. A volunteer led a special kids tour of the sculpture park, encouraging the children to touch, climb on, and run between the art objects. Many of the kids, particularly those who live in the adjacent apartment buildings and for whom the park is a backyard, return to the workshops weekly and spend the afternoon.
The sculptures are maintained by Public Art St. Paul and are interesting to ponder, but there is little signage in the park to explain what they are and where they came from. Startseeingart.com (an online guide to public art in the Twin Cities)was the best resource I could find to provide a little back story to my favorite installations.
Olivia, for instance, is peering out through the “Eye of Newt” – as in Gingrich, Speaker of the House in 1995 when this sculpture was designed. Find this tucked-away space, create some art at “the Spider” and get hooked on discovering public art in St. Paul!
About the Author: Anne Kingston is the Owner and Founder of Tourmoms.com.