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Adding public art to the new Lowertown ballpark

Recently, the city of St. Paul put out a request for qualifications (RFQ) for the public art that will go into the new Saints stadium in Lowertown. 

The city and the baseball team enlisted Julie Snow Architects, AECOM, and Ryan Companies to come up with a main concept for the 7,000-seat facility, which includes everything from public plazas to a dog park, according to the RFQ. 

Jody Martinez, who works for the city’s parks and recreation department, is leading the charge. She explains that at this early stage, artist entrants probably won’t have a “super-fleshed out idea,” for their ballpark contributions. Rather, the RFQ, which has a Sept. 16 deadline, is more about “what the artists hope to accomplish,” she says.   

That’s what a committee composed of city workers, art professionals, and other stakeholders will be looking at when they select the artists for the job, she says. 

Public art will add another dimension to the ballpark, which is replacing the 30-year-old Midway Stadium.

She says the ballpark’s artwork could take just about any form. For example, public art might tie in to the area’s history or the arts district. It might also incorporate “new-age electric art,” she says, adding, “It’s really open. We didn’t want to be prescriptive in any way.”  

That said, the Saints are known for a lot of quirky things, and the art should reflect that. “We’re looking for something quirky or out of the box, that speaks to the Saints and what they’ve stood for,” she says. Additionally, the public art should be within plain view so “that you [don't] have to search for it. It should be front and center."  

The committee encourages established and emerging artists to collaborate. “We’re hoping to get some interesting teams of artists who can combine forces and come up with unique ideas,” Martinez says. 

The timeframe for the public art will be tied to the stadium’s construction, which is planned to begin next spring, she adds.  

Source: Jody Martinez, St. Paul Parks and Recreation 
Writer: Anna Pratt 

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