Public Art brings the beauty and appreciation of aesthetics out of the museums and onto the street. By introducing creativity to the community, public works of art lead to a deeper understanding of life and an increased awareness for the importance of art. In Minnesota, local works of art can be seen all over neighborhoods, inside urban areas and as the centerpieces for gatherings. Aside from serving as attractive landmarks, public art expresses meaning and promotes growth. The best part is that it is free to enjoy. While there are hundreds of fantastic examples in the state, these are some of the most popular and well-known.
Franconia Sculpture Park
Franconia Sculpture Park
29836 St. Croix Trail
Shafer, MN 55074
(651) 257-6668
www.franconia.org

A fun day-trip north of the Twin Cites, Franconia Sculpture Park houses the one of the greatest collections of public art in the state of Minnesota. With over 40 acres of sculptures and unique buildings to explore, the Sculpture Park ensures something for everyone. The park itself is a collection of sculptures and a place where artists can live and work. The artists-in-residence are often on hand to discuss their work with visitors and inspire creativity in all who come to the park. The sculptures are interactive and visually remarkable, making this day trip one that may last an entire day. The park is open daily from sunup to sundown and admission is free, although donations are gladly accepted.

Autumnal Crescendo Public Art Project
W. 36th Street between Park Center Blvd. and Raleigh Ave.
St. Louis Park, MN 55416www.stlouispark.org

The Public Art Project in St. Louis Park has supported a number of installations and sculptures throughout the city to enhance the aesthetics and promote creativity. “The Autumnal Crescendo” is one of many projects that can be seen around the community and serve as landmarks to those that live in the suburb of Minneapolis. “The Autumnal Crescendo” consists of large representations of leaves that are found in nature throughout St. Louis Park. The leaves are crafted of glass and steel, necessitating a collaboration between two artists to craft each material and sculpture individually.

Chisago County Highway 8 Chairs
Highway 8
Chisago City, MN to Taylors Falls, MN
(651) 257-6270
www.highway8chairs.com

Along Highway 8, north of the Twin Cities, over 30 over-sized wooden chairs rest between five different cities. The chairs are designed and created by local artists to be enjoyed by the community and those traveling over Highway 8. The slogan for this public art project is appropriately, “Life is great on Highway 8!”, a sentiment that describes the quaintness and beauty of the small towns along the road. The Adirondack chairs conjure images of relaxation and easy living along the river. Some of the chairs along the road are available for purchase through auction to support future projects like the Highway 8 Chairs. Drive down the highway and see them all!

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Duluth Public Library
520 W. Superior St.
Duluth, MN 55802
(218) 730-4200
www.duluth.lib.mn.us

In front of the Duluth Public Library, a display of public art with a literature theme welcomes readers and locals to the building. Combining the art of sculpture, literature and architecture, a giant pillar replica of a book shelf stands at the entrance to the library. An almost perfect place for a sculpture of books, the library stands at the center of the community, across from a government building and along a busy thoroughfare. Anyone walking by can enjoy the massive representation these well-loved novels and popular classical works. Even if the library is not for you, the book sculpture speaks to everyone who sees it.

Giant Coffee Cup
Nyberg Sculpture Park
6001 E. Front St.
Vining, MN 56588
(218) 769-4484
www.ottertaillakescountry.com

Ken Nyberg, a long-time resident of Vining, Minnesota, is responsible for the fantastic sculptures in the Nyberg Sculpture Park, the centerpiece of which is the giant coffee cup. Each sculpture is a whimsical representation of an everyday object made massive. Aside from the suspended coffee cup spilling coffee, other favorites include a giant clothespin, a pretzel and a large metal cactus. The park is fun and free, definitely worth a drive off of the beaten path down Highway 210.

Related: Best Summer Art Festivals In Minnesota

Andrea Wodele is a freelance writer who has lived in the Twin Cities for the last 10 years. Her hobbies include exercising, driving kids around, watching Minnesota sports, and reading self-help literature. Examiner.com.

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