Sculpture Trail reopens with a fresh look
Sights to see along the 2023-24 Park Rapids Sculpture Trail include a giant dragonfly, a stainless steel dog and a painted chainsaw carving of a girl with a fox.
A small crowd strolled through Red Bridge Park together Saturday, May 20, to view the refreshed and reopened Park Rapid Sculpture Trial.
“We are here today to celebrate this year’s 13 new sculptures, the artists that created them, and to thank the generous sponsors that have made this possible,” said Laura Grisamore, chair of the Park Rapids Arts and Culture Advisory Commission.
Grisamore explained that the Sculpture Trail project first opened in 2018 with the help of grant funding, but is now fully supported by local sponsors. Initially comprising six sculptures in the park, it later expanded into the downtown area.
Grisamore also acknowledged the cooperation and help of the Park Rapids Parks and Beautification Board, Planning Commission, Public Works Department and other city personnel.
City Administrator Angel Weasner said the selection committee had 19 sculptures to choose from. “This year, we were very fortunate to have a lot of newer sculptures brought to us by artists that we had not heard of before,” she said.
New artworks in the park include “Thread to the Past” and “Down Boy” by Keith Raivo – depicting a crane and a dog – as well as Michael Pettit’s “Dragonfly,” Molly Wiste’s “Girl and Fox” and “Nautilus” by the father-son team of James and Ryan Pedersen.
The trail continues through the downtown area, showcasing “Dot to Dot” by Barb Christiansen, “Starnomoly” by Daniel Durst, “The Eternal Flame” by Isaac Kidder, “”Triangle Play” by Sunghee Min, “Farmhouse Fish” by Tim Nelsen, “Drip Edge” by Craig Snyder, “White Earth Calendar” by Simon Zornes and “Big Money” by Pettit.
According to Grisamore, plaques identifying each sculpture and its creator will soon be added, and a brochure covering this year’s sculpture selections will be available in a couple weeks.
“Placemaking projects like these have a huge impact on (the) vibrancy of our communities,” said Grisamore. “They inspire us. They enhance our quality of life. They are economic drivers, and they provide educational opportunities. And most of all, they celebrate our community.”
Following remarks by Grisamore and Weasner, sculptor and arts commission member Paul Albright gave attendees a guided tour of the new sculptures in the park. Wiste was on hand to explain her painted chainsaw carving of a girl modeled on her daughter, Nora.
A wood art teacher at the Bemidji Middle School, Wiste said, “I like to make pieces about our connection with nature, because I love raising my kids up here in the northwoods. We’re always getting maple syrup or getting wild rice or hunting or fishing. So that’s why I wanted to do the fox instead of a dog.”