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Thistle store brings vintage wares to Milton Square

Thistle, an occasional shop that offers repurposed vintage furniture and other home accessories, opened in the historical Milton Square in St. Paul in May.

The space has had a variety of uses through the years, according to shop owner Heather O’Malley.
She describes the place as a “nice complement to the quirky building,” which dates back to 1909. It has a European feeling, with old-fashioned steps that lead down to the store. People can “overlook it from the street and down into my doorway. People love to peek over,” she says.

Although O’Malley made some cosmetic changes to the 800-square-foot space, “My type of furniture, quirky repurposed things, fits in well with this,” she says. To flesh that out a little more, she took away layers to expose old pipes and radiators.  

O’Malley, who also has a set-design business, had always wanted to have a shop like this and she likes the neighborhood. As far as work goes, “I love to find things and change them up and make them into something else, give them a new life,” she says, adding, “I felt it was time for me to have a retail spot for it.”  

So, when this space opened up, “It was the perfect opportunity,” and it makes sense for the neighborhood, too, which is characterized by older homes, she says.

Since the shop is only open for a limited time over the course of a month, “It’s not like a typical gift shop. It’s constantly changing,” with different merchandise all the time. “People feel like they’re on a scavenger hunt to find something no one else has discovered yet.”  

The shop’s next sale dates go from July 11 to 14. (Check the website for further details.) “People get excited about seeing what comes next,” O'Malley says, adding, “There’s been some really interesting comments and good feedback so far.”

Source: Heather O’Malley, owner, Thistle
Writer: Anna Pratt

Students design stormwater drain stencils throughout St. Paul as a part of CityLabs project

Through a partnership with a group called CityLabs, which works with a nonprofit consortium called the Associated Colleges of the Twin Cities (ACTC) on various sustainability projects, a number of student designers will soon be making their mark on St. Paul streets.

The students, who come from Hamline University and Augsburg College, came up with a stencil design for stormwater drains throughout the city.

On Thursday, that design, and other pieces the students put together as a part of a larger campaign to create awareness around stormwater drains, will be unveiled in a special event at Hamline.

Jason Maher, a spokesperson from CityLabs, explains that the city is required to do a certain amount of education and outreach concerning stormwater drains. That’s where CityLabs and ACTC are able to have an impact: For the stencils, the city “proposed that to us in project form and then we match that with existing coursework,” he says.  

The idea is that the stenciled designs calls attention to the stormwater drains, which often end up conveying much more than runoff, he says.

Typically, the city works with the Friends of the Mississippi River (FMR) on these types of initiatives, and FMR will be coordinating the stenciling part of this project in the coming weeks. At Thursday’s event, people can sign up to help out with that, he says.   

The reason that this project came up has to with the fact that the current designs on the city’s stormwater drains are 20 years old, so the city “wanted a redesign of that campaign.”

Also as a part of this campaign, students designed eye-catching handles to flip over storm doors and coasters for area bars to use.

As the project progressed, the dynamic between the classes and the city was much like that of a graphic design firm and client, “with lots of feedback and give and take,” he says, adding, “Someone from the city works with the students to make sure the outcomes are there and they guide the work.”

Students started out with around seven design concepts, which they narrowed down to three and then one winning design. Along the way, the students came up with lots of “ideas that are super fresh and innovative,” he says.

Source: Jason Maher, spokesperson, CityLabs
Writer: Anna Pratt

Sunrise Cyclery plans $25,000 renovation at new location

Sunrise Cyclery bike shop in Southwest Minneapolis will be moving to a new location along the Midtown Greenway in the coming months.

The bike shop will take over a one-story warehouse space that has long served exclusively as storage, according to Sunrise owner Jamie McDonald.

Its move was prompted by the sale of its longtime home at Bryant and Lake. In many ways, it's an upgrade for the bike shop, which caters to local commuters and recreational riders, with new and used bike parts, he says.  

For starters, at its new digs, the bike shop will be able to spread out more, with 5,000 square feet as opposed to its existing 3,000, he says.

McDonald also has a vision for an open public area, where people can work on their own bikes with the shop’s tools.

In general, the bike shop will be able to offer more programming, and even dedicate some space to the Wellstone Bike Club, an organization it has partnered with through the years. The club helps youth start bicycling.

“The number of bikes we’ll be able to turn through here will be better, too,” he adds.

Sunrise will carry on the look and feel of a “friendly neighborhood bike shop.” To achieve that, it’ll take about $25,000 to build out the industrial building, he says. The project involves everything from installing utilities to getting a new door.

A new roof for the building, plus landscaping for the site, are also in the works. “To get an underused facility and bring it back to some function is a good thing,” he says.   

All in all, the new location will be convenient for bicyclists on the trail. Plus, “More eyes on the Greenway can’t hurt,” McDonald adds. He expects the bike shop to have a positive impact on the area, just as it has at its old location.

“It gives people a meeting place other than the local coffee shop, to do something healthy, fun, and safe,” he says. “They can come and meet with a bunch of other like-minded people and ride their bikes.”  

The bike shop tentatively plans to get its new location up and running in mid-November.

 Source: Jamie McDonald, owner, Sunrise Cyclery
Writer: Anna Pratt

Mead Hall Games & Comics to add color to basement space in Loring Park

Mead Hall Games & Comics, whose name is a nod to the European mead-drinking and feasting halls of centuries ago, is bringing new life to a basement-level space in Loring Park.

The shop will offer comic books with a special emphasis on local, independent work, along with music records, games and more, according to owner Ian Anderson.

It falls under the umbrella of The Afternoon Company, which Anderson started a decade ago.

Mead Hall will occupy about 400 square feet of a 1,200-square-foot space that it shares with Afternoon Printing, which also belongs to the parent company.

This was an area of the shop that the printing company didn’t need. As such, “We decided to make it spectacular,” he says, adding, “That’s what evolved into the comic book store.”

In the past, the space housed an Italian restaurant, but it’s long been vacant. “It was in rough shape, but we put a lot of work into it,” he says, adding that it gets plenty of natural light.  
He and his partner Alex Bowes did the renovation work themselves, including the woodwork, plumbing, and electrical systems. “It’s been a great learning experience,” he says. “The space really needed some love. We’re really proud of it.”   

Reflecting the heritage of its originators, it has a Nordic feel to it. “We’re trying to bring in a lot of design from the classic Nordic vibe we all know and love,” he says.  

Much of the wood in the place has been reclaimed from an old school gymnasium that was in a flood. Although some pieces were ruined, “We cleaned it piece by piece,” he says, adding, “We were able to pull out the Dream Team pieces.”  

By contrast, the print shop area, which is behind the comic store, has a more modern, industrial aesthetic, with plenty of metal.

“We hope we can embrace the nerds of the neighborhood,” and vice versa. “I think it’s an awesome spot to be in. We’re excited.”

The shop is slated to open later this month, or as soon as the proper licensing comes through, Anderson says.

Source: Ian Anderson, The Afternoon Company
Writer: Anna Pratt

Envision Minnesota hosts placemaking forum

An upcoming forum from Envision Minnesota, a sustainable land use nonprofit organization, will highlight cutting-edge public art initiatives underway in St. Paul.

The event, called, "Spotlight on Saint Paul: A Creative Placemaking Forum," is happening on Sept. 18 at the Wilder Foundation in St. Paul.

For example, the city has an artist-in-residence program, something that Public Art Saint Paul funds, according to Jill Mazullo, communications director for Envision Minnesota.

Through the program, an artist, in this case, Marcus Young, works alongside city officials. One project he's leading brings poetry to city sidewalks. (See The Line story here.)

"It's a unique public-private partnership," she says.

Also, a city ordinance calls for artists to be members of planning teams related to development, while one percent of capital building budgets are to go to public art, she explains.  

Separately, through a partnership with Springboard for the Arts and Twin Cities Local Initiatives Support Corporation (TC LISC, a sponsor of The Line), Irrigate Arts sets in motion short-term artist-led projects about “humanizing the Central Corridor Light Rail Transit construction.”

“I’m struck by the insight of the Irrigate project,” she says. “I’m glad the corridor is becoming more connected, but this placemaking initiative is all about the full of the community.”

The programs bring together the “whimsy of art and bricks and mortar of construction,” she says.

The event’s speakers include Regina Flanagan from Public Art Saint Paul and Jun-Li Wang of Springboard for the Arts. They’ll talk about the city’s ongoing public art programs and offer how-tos for replicating them elsewhere. “Hopefully people go away with good ideas to take back to their own communities.”

Envision Minnesota’s new executive director, Lee Helgen, who helped author the city arts ordinance when he was a City Council member, will moderate the discussion.  

Source: Jill Mazullo, communications director, Envision Minnesota
Writer: Anna Pratt

The Nightingale restaurant to revamp burned-down grocery space on Lyndale

A former grocery store on 25th and Lyndale Avenue in Minneapolis, which was damaged in a fire last year, is being transformed to make way for a new restaurant called the Nightingale.

The Nightingale, which plans to offer a full late-night menu, will be defined by a classic design with a modern twist, according to the Southwest Journal.

Exposed brick walls, hardwood floors, and a mix of half-moon and single booths will characterize the 75-seat dining room and bar, according to the story. Neighborhood residents Carrie McCabe-Johnston and her husband, Jasha Johnston, co-own the place.

The couple is going for something that’s “a bit more upscale than what the corner is currently offering,” McCabe-Johnston told the Southwest Journal, adding, “this is what we wished was in our neighborhood."

Local designer Rachel Kate, who recently competed on HGTV’s “Design Star” show, is leading the overhauling of the space. Kate, who’s long known the couple, says, “We’ve been talking about doing a restaurant for as long as I can remember."

The place has been completely gutted, which revealed the exposed brick walls behind the old drywall, Kate says. While a lot of things had to go, “The exposed brick is staying,” she says. “It was a fantastic find."

The restaurant will be sophisticated yet friendly, she says. Its ambiance should attract nocturnal types. “It’ll have a dark nighttime feel,” she says.

A lot of metals, woods and brick will set the tone for the place, which has an open floor plan for the most part, she says. “The hard materials and the lighting will drive the design.” 

“There are some cool features in there,” she says, adding that it’s rewarding to bring new life to the space.

The trio aims to open the restaurant this fall.

Source: Rachel Kate, designer
Writer: Anna Pratt

Union Depot renovation includes $1.25 million for public art

Josh Collins, the public art administrator for the historic Union Depot in St. Paul, which is undergoing a $243 million renovation project, often fields the question, 'Why does such an iconic building need public art?' 

About $1.25 million of the depot's construction costs will go to that end, according to information from the Ramsey County Regional Authority (RCRRA).

For Collins, it comes down to making the building more accessible. “It’s a way we can engage travelers and customers and anyone who comes through," he says, adding, "It makes it special."  

Recently the Railroad Authority announced the results of a call for artists for four commissioned projects.

Projects may teach about the building’s history or be simply aesthetically-pleasing or interactive. “We hope it’ll blend with the existing architecture and make it a place that people have civic pride in,” he says.  

The Railroad Authority chose the artists from a pool of 156 applicants from across the country, including the internationally known to the emerging artist.

For starters, local artists Amy Baur and Brian Boldon of Plain Sight Art Studio in Minneapolis will fill the carriageway with a 170-foot mural made out of tile on glass. The mural will be comprised of multi-layered digital images that speak to the depot’s history, he explains.

Philadelphia artist Ray King will create an elegant suspended sculpture for the Great Hall Atrium while Tim Prentice of West Cornwall, Conn., will craft a suspended kinetic sculpture in the new Kellogg Entry, according to rail information.

King typically “uses lightweight metals to form individual elements that when linked together glide on gentle air currents,” he says. “It reflects light in unpredictable ways.”  

Steve Dietz, from the Twin Cities-based Northern Lights.mn will lead an interactive multimedia project that could involve using a cell phone or an app. “Hopefully it’ll give people a playful experience with the building," he says. 

All in all, the public art will be a draw on its own, he says.

Source: Josh Collins, Union Depot public art program administrator
Writer: Anna Pratt

Temporary writing room fills vacant storefront

An empty storefront space on University Avenue in St. Paul, along the coming Central Corridor Light Rail Transit line, will soon be transformed into a contemplative writing room, temporarily.

The installation, from artist Rebecca Krinke, is part of a collaborative project with the Starling Project and the St. Anthony Pop-Up Shop, which has filled the storefront with all kinds of creative activities this summer.

Krinke’s writing room, titled “What Needs to Be Said,” will occupy the space from August 15 to 19.

She’s trying to provide a public yet private forum for what often goes unsaid, she explains.

Krinke invites visitors to jot down whatever is on their minds, which they can display or hide away in the room. At the end of the run, the writings will be burned.     

In some ways, the room is a retreat from the daily grind. It has a smoky cedar smell, while the doors are made out of charred wood, crumpled paper, and Mylar.

This lends “an atmospheric feeling to the room--of secrets, pain, joy,” and more, she says.  
Although the room has a see-through quality, outside observers can only see the movement of shadow and light, while “inside has a very different feeling.”

The idea is that speaking up can be cathartic, especially in person--and in a meditative spot--as opposed to online, via blogs or message boards. “This is more random, physical, and visceral,” she says.

Beyond that, Krinke hopes that the project helps draw people to the area, which is known for its creative community.

“I want to show and support the potential for used storefronts in the area,” she says, adding that it demonstrates what artists can do to help revitalize spaces and cities.

University of Minnesota graduate students Michael Richardson and Emily Lowery are assisting Krinke with the installation, especially by exploring the possibilities for an audio component in a future installation, she adds.

Source: Rebecca Krinke, artist
Writer: Anna Pratt

Wayfinding art bikes inspire people to explore the neighborhood on foot or bike

To motivate people to get out of their cars and to explore the area surrounding the Central Corridor by bike or on foot, the St. Anthony Park neighborhood in St. Paul is getting nearly a dozen "wayfinding bikes."

As a part of the project, the artfully decorated bikes/public art pieces will be strategically placed here and there, with signage that conveys travel times and distances to certain local destinations, according to council materials.

The St. Anthony Park Community Council (SAPCC) set the project in motion, which local artist and environmental designer Carrie Christensen took on. Her focus is on sparking “awareness of place and to create more ecologically, socially, and economically functional spaces,” according to council materials.

Irrigate Arts helped make it possible with $1,000 in funding for the collaborative project.

SAPCC, which held a bike painting party in mid-July, is hosting another one today from 12:30 p.m. to 2 p.m. at Hampden Park.

Amy Sparks, who leads the council, says that besides promoting more physical activity, the place-making project helps to mark the neighborhood’s in-progress Creative Enterprise Zone. “This also meets some of our goals in terms of increasing foot traffic and bringing vibrancy to the zone,” which is about cultivating creativity in the area, she says.

She's impressed with how Christensen took the concept and made it her own. Each of the bikes, which were donated, is getting a makeover.

One bike looks like it could be from the 1930s or 40s, with fin-like lines that resemble an old Cadillac car, she says.

Bikes will be adorned according to various themes, creating a mermaid, garden, rainbow and yarn bombing, among others. 

Also, the bikes will be chained to a signpost, so they’ll be fixed in place. Each of the bikes will be on view through Nov. 1, to avoid snowplows, she says.

Source: Amy Sparks, St. Anthony Park Community Council
Writer: Anna Pratt

Mosaic on a Stick gearing up for expansion

Mosaic on a Stick, an art studio in St. Paul that centers on mosaic making, has outgrown its longtime home on Snelling Avenue.  

As such, the studio is planning to expand operations this fall within the nearby Hamline Park Playground building.

It’s a big upgrade for the studio, informally known as "the Stick," which will go from 2,000 square feet to 3,500, according to owner and artist Lori Greene.

Securing more space means that the studio will be able to offer additional classes, have more open workspace, and host formal gallery shows and other community events. “The benefits are huge for both the Stick and the community,” she says.

Greene also needs more room for a new nonprofit organization that she’s starting, called the Urban Mosaic Collaborative, which is about introducing youth to art and community work.

Often, the Stick collaborates with local teens on mosaic-style murals. Recently, Greene led a group of teens from the COMPAS program in the creation of a mural for Canvas at the Hancock Recreation Center.

Separately, soon her handiwork will be visible at the in-progress Café 180 and Holistic Health Farms, according to a St. Paul Monitor story.
Since it opened in 2004, the Stick has become a neighborhood hub and something of a local recycling center. “People bring me their old plates and dishes and old tiles and plastic containers for reuse,” she says, adding that the items pour in weekly. “Most people tell me they would rather give it to me than throw it away.”   

In the move, the place will retain its colorful, bright, and welcoming aesthetic, with mosaics everywhere, she says.  

At the same time, the Stick will work with the city to preserve the building’s historic character.

“We’ve already made a difference and want to continue to be in the Midway Hamline Park Neighborhood so we can do more of what we’ve been doing,” she wrote in her application for the new space.

Source: Lori Greene, Mosaic on a Stick
Writer: Anna Pratt

Aerial photography shows a unique view of the land

A twofold event dubbed “exp-Air-iment” offers participants the opportunity to see the neighborhood from a new perspective--literally.

The St. Anthony Park Community Council Pop-Up Shop is hosting an aerial photography “open lab” and separately, a workshop, from Aug. 1 to 5.

The pop-up shop, which temporarily fills an empty storefront space on University Avenue, is among the numerous creative initiatives to come out of Irrigate Arts. The initiative is funding all kinds of place-making projects along the Central Corridor light rail transit line.

Kristen Murray, a co-founder of the Starling Project, which is helping to program the pop-up shop, is leading “exp-Air-iment.”   

In the “open lab,” visitors will get a chance to try the special aerial photography rig in the shop and see the images that come from a custom-built 3D printer, which was designed by Will Janicke, a local maker.

The workshop takes it a step further; people will learn the basics to get started with aerial photography, which involves sending digital cameras into the air with balloons, she says.

Also over the coming week, Murray is doing aerial photography with the Teen Tech Crew at the Science Museum of Minnesota, where she previously led hands-on technology-based programs.

Recently, she worked with teens from the nearby Skyline Tower housing complex. “We took a couple of cameras, rigs, and a bunch of balloons over to Dunning Field and captured some great shots,” she says, adding that they also suspended cameras from kites.  

The playing field’s wide-open spaces worked well for the balloons, which hovered overhead about 50 feet high. The group also got views of Marshall Avenue, Central High School, the St. Anthony Park community garden along with other local landmarks--and the photographers themselves.

“I enjoy seeing broad views where you can recognize the place easily, as well as more accidental angles and perspectives that catch interesting patterns,” she says.

The images show that “The railyard is just an impressive site--amazing that so much activity happens in a place that is smack-dab in the middle of the city but yet mostly out-of-mind and out-of-sight,” the website reads.  

The images can be seen on the website and hanging in the pop-up shop this week.

Source: Kristen Murray, Co-founder, Starling Project
Writer: Anna Pratt

Minneapolis Club undergoes $900,000 renovation of its grill and patio

The historic Minneapolis Club’s restaurant, which hasn’t changed since 1974, will soon get a facelift.

As a part of the $900,000 project, the club, which has long been a gathering place for city leaders and businesspeople, is adding a new bar and patio, while the first-floor grill’s hours will expand to include dinner.

This part of the building hasn’t seen any renovations since 1974, according to the club’s general manager, Frank DiLapo. “Everyone loved it and they were reluctant to do anything in there,” he says.  

However, it finally got to the point where it was tired enough that “We needed to do something to spruce it up" and give it a contemporary atmosphere. The changes will help make it a better gathering place, says DiLapo. “We looked at the clubhouse and the ways members want to use it now,” he says. “The hallmark of a great club is that it transitions for its members.”

Although the place will be updated, it’ll still have an old-fashioned look. Design-wise, the club looked to a London hotel called The Connaught. “It resembles the clubhouse in a lot of ways, with dark wood in the lobby area,” DiLapo says.  

In the 110-seat restaurant, the club preserved the woodwork without painting over it. To inject some color into the space, colorful furniture and white tablecloths were brought in. “The whole room is a brighter, lighter spot,” he says.

The 40-seat bar will be something of a throwback to what the space looked like in the past, with familiar yet refurbished chairs. A mural referencing the skyline will grace the walls.  

An area alongside the building, which had been a lawn, has been turned into a 50-seat patio. The patio, which will have its grand opening today, is going for a modernized speakeasy feel with stone, black wrought-iron furniture, and a white-flower garden.

Altogether, “Now we’ll have this whole little dining complex,” DiLapo says.

The restaurant and bar changes will wrap up in September. “Some of the most important decisions about the city have been made here at the club, he says, adding, “We want to make sure we’re around for another 130 years.”

Source: Frank DiLapo, general manager, Minneapolis Club
Writer: Anna Pratt

Mona restaurant elevates dining experience in downtown Minneapolis neighborhood

Mona, a new small-plate restaurant on South Seventh Street in downtown Minneapolis, takes its name from the famous Mona Lisa painting, which depicts a “woman with a mysterious smile.”  

Restaurant owner Lisa Hanson, who is also its head chef, says that like the painting, she thought the place might pique people’s curiosity: “Since I haven’t been cooking long in this town, I thought there might be a sense of mystery about how I became the 100-percent owner of this restaurant and built it from scratch,” she says.  

Hanson revamped the place earlier this year. Previously it had housed an Asian restaurant called Black Bamboo. “There was a lot of work to do,” she says, adding, that only the floor stayed intact. “We gutted the whole thing.”  

Today, the 3,000-square-foot space includes an open kitchen, counter seating, and booths, which can accommodate up to 102 people, along with a 75-seat patio.

A 20-foot island-style bar, chandeliers, tiled kitchen, dark wood, gilded mirrors and plenty of white and stainless steel define the space. “The media has said it looks like surgery,” she says. “The dining room is much softer and snazzy-looking.” 

Further, the patio is recessed from the street, so it has a more private feel.

Even though the restaurant has only been open for a few months, already it has seen an uptick in foot traffic. “A lot of people have said this is an area that’s underserved,” in terms of the cuisine, she says.  “We bring an opportunity for a lovely dining experience” as opposed to the more casual service at a bar.  
The restaurant also supports a number of local purveyors and farms and has a seasonal menu--something that she says is also lacking in this part of town. “We bring a lot of those factors to the area,” she says.

In a neighborhood that has many condos and apartment buildings, Mona seems to meet a need. “People come in and are so excited to have a real restaurant in their neighborhood,” she says. “We already have regulars.”  

Source: Lisa Hanson, owner and head chef, Mona
Writer: Anna Pratt

Met Council gets an app to improve regional bike-ability

To make the area more amenable to bicyclists, the Metropolitan Council has started gathering information about individual rides with the help of a smartphone app called CycleTracks.

The San Francisco County Transportation Authority originally developed the app to improve its transit system. Recently the California agency licensed the Met Council, for a fee, to use the same program locally, according to council information. 

Using GPS technology, the free app, which is available to both iPhone and Android users, captures data about cyclists’ routes, distance, and travel times. The app also collects demographic information such as age, gender, ride frequency, and so forth.  

Jonathan Ehrlich, a senior planner with the council, explains: “We’re using it for transportation planning. We can get data about cyclists, what facilities they’re using, and for what purpose.”

“The app tells us everywhere a bicyclist has been,” he says.

It also distinguishes recreational bicyclists from commuters and others who bike as a primary mode of transportation.

This information will tell the council “what roads and paths are being used and what ones are being avoided,” he says.  

People can also add notes about their ride.  

Right now the app has a couple hundred users and the council hopes to get several thousand. “We’re very pleased with the response so far,” Ehrlich says.

The council is trying to get as much data as possible this summer and fall, to aid in a private study.  
Another senior transportation planner, David Vessel, adds that this is “a great way for regional cyclists to contribute to a more accurate model of cycling activity and improve the plan for future cycling facilities.”  

At the same time, “The app stores the ride map and stats for the cyclist on their phone too,” he says, adding, “It is a handy free cycle computer.”

Source: David Vessel, Jonathan Ehrlich, senior transit planners, Met Council
Writer: Anna Pratt

Minnesota Orchestra's iconic blue tubes to be repurposed

The recognizable blue tubes that once graced Orchestra Hall in downtown Minneapolis, along the building’s exterior, are getting a new life.

The 16 tubes, which are 10 and 20 feet tall, had epitomized the building's style, which dates back to 1974, according to orchestra information. The tubes also helped with the lobby's ventilation system.  

Right now, Orchestra Hall, which is home to the Minnesota Orchestra, is undergoing a $40 million expansion project for which construction will wrap up next summer. Its new look didn’t include the retro blue tubes, according to orchestra spokesperson Gwen Pappas.

This got orchestra staffers thinking about what to do with them. Since the tubes are so well known, “We thought it would be neat to find life for them outside of Orchestra Hall,” she says.

So the orchestra turned to fans on Facebook, asking for their suggestions for how to go about repurposing them. “It was a whimsical thing,” she says. “There were lots of clever answers and it started to gather steam.”

Based on that feedback, the orchestra sent out a request for proposals on possible new uses for the tubes. The orchestra planned to donate the tubes. “We were hoping to find people with creative ideas, possibly musically related,” but that wasn’t a requirement, she says. “We also wanted to see a public component and have them be spread out geographically.”  

Out of a dozen submissions, the orchestra went with five that met the criteria and had practical implementation plans, she says.

The tubes, for which Mortenson Construction covered delivery costs, landed at the Anderson Center at Tower View, a sculpture park in Red Wing; a private home in St. Paul, where they’ll be used for a sound installation and bat house (yes, a house for bats), and Big Stone Mini Golf and Sculpture Garden in Minnetrista.

Separately, sculptor Peter Morales, who is affiliated with Franconia Sculpture Park in Shafer, plans to fashion a three- or four-legged blue beast with some of the tubes. Franconia received another 10 of the tubes.   

“It was a real connection that people felt for the tubes,” she says. “We feel really good about it.”  

 Source: Gwen Pappas, spokesperson, Minnesota Orchestra
Writer: Anna Pratt
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