Public Art Completes Nicollet Mall’s Design

Public art installation activity on Nicollet Mall is reaching a crescendo for the season. During a walk from the north to south ends of the Mall on sunny Wednesday, October 25th, I observed expert restorers and installers completing their work.

Enjoyment of Nature by Kinji Akagawa, one of several historic works from the 1990s, now graces the North Grove. Carefully restored and beautifully sited to interact with the landscape, last touches include power-washing prior to applying mortar around the base of the boulders, and protecting the wood seating surfaces with sealant.


Hail Minnesota manhole covers by Kate Burke with patterns of wild rice and oats are discovered in the sidewalk between 2nd and 3rd Streets.


Incised sidewalk pavement in front of the barriers marks the future location of the sculptural work Nimbus by Tristan Al-Haddad to be installed in spring 2018 at the Theater in the Round in front of Central Library.


Stone Boats, a pair of sculptural granite seating forms by Stanton Sears are mortared in place on the east side of Nicollet between 5th and 6th Streets.


At the intersection with 11th Street near WCCO, Prairie Tree, a new kinetic sculpture by Ned Kahn, undulates, sparkles, and draws eyes upward to an interplay with surrounding architecture and cloudless sky.


The long-awaited reinstallation of Jack Nelson’s Sculpture Clock was underway on the southeast corner near Orchestra Hall. Conservator Kristin Cheronis and her crew packed and moved the over 900-piece work from the restoration studio in Northeast Minneapolis to carefully re-assemble it inside the confines of the cabinet below the clock dial. On October 26th, the gleaming perpetual motion sculpture was activated for the first time in over fifteen years.


Between 12th and 13th Streets, Shadows of Spirit by Seitu Jones and Ta-Coumba Aiken with poems by Soyini Guyton is encountered in the pavement.

During summer 2018, Tableau: A Native American Mosaic by George Morrison, the final artwork in the collection of new and restored works, will be installed in the South Grove near the Loring Greenway.

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Nicollet Mall Public Art that’s Up… and Coming

As construction on Nicollet Mall finally rolls to its conclusion, the crowning touches include new and returning public art.

Prairie Tree, a kinetic work by Ned Kahn, has alighted on the northeast corner of the intersection of Nicollet and 11th Street near WCCO. View a photo essay of its installation here and learn more about this artist who also created The Wave at Target Field.

Hail Minnesota, a series of eleven different cast iron manhole cover patterns by Kate Burke were the first works from the 1990s to return to the Mall. They are a handsome counterpoint to the etched concrete pavement. Burke recounts winning the commission and how she fabricated the patterns in the days before computers.

Shadows of Spirit by Seitu Jones, Ta-coumba Aiken and poet Soyini Guyton – also from the 1990s – has been restored and reinstalled (before restoration and after, above) between 12th and 13th Streets. Each bronze shadow inset features a poem honoring the people who made Minneapolis including the first documented Chinese immigrant:

from china
to this rivertown
he brought family

Minnesota artists Jones and Aiken talk about their intentions for the work here and what this early work has meant to their careers.

Coming this Month

Beloved remnant of the original 1960s design for the Mall, the perpetual motion Sculpture Clock by Jack Nelson will be reinstalled at the southeast corner of 11th Street. Read the fascinating story of the Sculpture Clock and view photo essays and videos about its rebirth and restoration by conservator Kristin Cheronis here and then visit the Mall to see the Sculpture Clock in motion for the first time since 2002.

Enjoyment of Nature, a seating ensemble with granite boulders, square benches and a circular bird bath by Kinji Akagawa will return, installed in a lush, shady grove of plantings at the north end of the Mall. People and birds will both benefit from its new location.

Nicollet Lanterns, a new work by Blessing Hancock featuring poems by Minneapolis writers Moheb Soliman, Sagirah Shahid, Junauda Petrus and R. Vincent Monez, Jr. (Nu’Eta) will be suspended along the west side of Nicollet between 6th and 8th Streets. Read about Nicollet Lanterns with its timely and pertinent poems and profiles of the young writers.

Installations 2018

Nimbus by Tristan Al-Haddad will form a sculptural canopy over the Theater in the Round seating amphitheater in front of Central Library. Illuminated from within at night, the sculpture will appear to levitate. View design plans and progress with fabrication here.

Tableau: A Native American Mosaic granite paving carpet by esteemed Minnesota artist George Morrison, will be reinstalled at the south end of the Mall in a grove with seating near the entrance to the Loring Greenway.

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