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There’s a serious lack of public art in West St. Paul, especially compared to the wider Twin Cities. Our Art Park is starting to change that, but the state of public art is poor.
Thanks in part to our strict code, the only mural in town is the faded McDonald’s Playland mural created in 1983 by Rene Tchida. The sign ordinance even limits sculpture.
And when West St. Paul does get public art, we do this:
Two identical bronze sculptures, both installed in 2010, less than half a mile apart. (They’re reproductions of a work by artist Max Turner. Want your own? Only $7,000.)
Augustana Lutheran Church installed a butterfly garden and bronze sculpture in memory of Gary Lein and George Spevacek, and Wentworth Library installed a bronze sculpture in honor of Beverly Ekholm, Dakota County Library board member and president from 1994 to 2005.
It’s lovely to see local organizations honoring their people, but the exact same sculpture? Oof.
But public art is ready for a renaissance in West St. Paul. It started with the Art Park, but we’re seeing more art spread throughout town, whether it’s Little Free Libraries, more libraries, temporary installations, chainsaw art, yard decor, businesses, and schools.
City Council has plans to revisit the sign ordinance and create a vision for public art. Conversations are happening behind the scenes about how we can have more art in our public spaces. Stay tuned.
You can follow WSP Art on Facebook for the latest in local art.
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