Photo of Regina Flanagan with her camera.

Regina Flanagan, Content author and photographer

City’s collection of public art on Nicollet is complete!

In September and October 2018, Tableau – A Native American Mosaic  by esteemed Minnesota artist George Morrison was re-installed in the Loring Grove at the south end of Nicollet.

During November 2018, Tristan Al-Haddad assembled Nimbus  in a parking lot across from Minneapolis Central Library and on December 8, 2018, it was ceremoniously lofted by crane over Nicollet to its final resting place in the Library’s forecourt, completing the Theater in the Round.

With the installation of Nimbus, the final artwork, my work is also complete. In 2015, I was one of four artists selected to create new work for Nicollet, but I had a unique role: to curate and integrate artwork. My interpretation of that challenge was to author this website and blog - to give you an insider’s view, a real-time record, of what it takes to create works of public art from inspiration through installation, and to provide historical perspective.

I produced stories about the artists and writers, and using my photography skills, created a series of photo essays and videos about the restoration of Jack Nelson’s Sculpture Clock, among others. I was on-site to document the sometimes-dramatic installation of artwork on Nicolet and afterward, to make portraits of the artworks, observing public interactions on busy workdays downtown, and during special events like Northern Spark and the 2017 Super Bowl. I caught the play of light and the effects of wind and rain on the artworks. I spent a lot of time walking Nicollet!

Public art has been integral to Nicollet’s urban design since the early 1960s, and I wrote about its decade-by-decade evolution in order to give context to present efforts. I also analyzed how four very different current downtown plans conceive of the role of public art and may influence its future.

I am honored to have authored the website and blog - my artistic contribution to Nicollet. Getting to know the artists, especially the four young writers who contributed to Nicollet Lanterns, has enriched my life. Interviewing old friends like Kinji Akagawa, I had the opportunity to collect their thoughts about public art on Nicollet for posterity. I observed Tristan Al-Haddad’s reaction as all of the parts of Nimbus were assembled and lifted into position for the first time – and photographed the moment when the sculpture’s final form came into being.

Now the website and blog will be managed by the City’s Art in Public Places program. Look for updates from them in 2019 about dedication events to celebrate the City’s newest collection of public art!

RF Signature

Here’s a summary of what you’ll continue to find on the website and blog…

What’s Happening Now blog features photo essays, interviews and stories about the new and returning public art and the artists that created the works, and includes links to more in-depth pieces.

On the website, there’s stories about Ned Kahn’s  Prairie Tree  located near WCCO and Blessing Hancock’s Nicollet Lanterns  between Sixth and Eighth Streets animated with poems by Minneapolis writers Junauda Petrus, Moheb Soliman, Sagirah Shadid, and R. Vincent Moniz, Jr. (Nu’Eta).

You can also read about the popular Hail Minnesota! manhole covers by Kate Burke that have returned to Nicollet along with three works by Minnesota artists: Shadows of Spirit by Seitu Jones and Ta-coumba Aiken with poems by Soyini Guyton; Kinji Akagawa’s Enjoyment of Nature; and Stone Boats by Stanton Sears..

For history buffs and fans of the Sculpture Clock by Jack Nelson, the oldest piece (1968) that has returned to Nicollet, there’s an extensively researched history with fascinating correspondence between Nelson and Lawrence Halprin and Associates, the original designers of Nicollet. Photo essays and videos document the studio of local professional art conservator Kristin Cheronis whose team has carefully restored the Sculpture Clock.

Policy geeks, urban planners and designers, art administrators, and art history aficionados might want to visit the website’s History tab where public art’s role in urban design is considered in the context of four recent City plans, and the history of public art downtown is illustrated from the 1960s to the present.

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