Saturday was such a nice fall day so I decided it was finally time to visit the nearby Franconia Sculpture Garden. It is located at the junction of Highway 8 and #95, not far from Interstate Park, Minnesota side. I have driven by the area often and seen the frequent changes from the road and marveled at the works from a distance. However, wandering through the twenty acre area is an experience to be remembered and shared.
This artistic garden has been there since 2004 and has grown to be a popular area for families and individuals to visit frequently. Some of the displays are children friendly so they can climb, touch and explore as they wish, while the parents can appreciate the creativity of so many artists. A young woman was busily pounding and welding a metal sculpture and I spoke with her to learn more about the program which usually has 15-25 artists scheduled to do sculpting. She pointed out the large and colorful ship seen to the right , in this article , and stated that she alone built it using different pieces of wood, plastic or metal. It was very impressive and pleasing to the eye.
There was an intricate metal sculpture of a woman kneeling down that was pleasing to look at. Objects varying from small to large were scattered around the landscape and they were constructed of aluminum cans, heavy iron works, wood or plastic. It was left to the imagination of the artist as to size, placement and the object. One large display consisted totally of aluminum cans and included a large fish which tossed to and fro in the wind. Then there was a huge green frog for the children to climb around.
I was told that interns as well as skilled artists come from all over the world to share their talent at this sculpture garden, which is funded in part by the East Central Arts Organization and by private donations. The displays stay in place for about a year and then are moved on to another sculpture garden or park where they can again be enjoyed. Sometime a smaller piece may be sold to a private party, or larger pieces that can not be moved are dismantled.
In the summertime, there are programs for at risk children to attend and create their own artworks. Sometime, they have a summer concert amidst the many creations, blending music and art. We are fortunate to have this bit of culture in our midst and it is open 365 days a year from dawn to dusk. To access more information about this fine program go to www.franconia.org and click on Blog for much more assistance in learning about all that the program offers. I enjoyed my afternoon there, walking leisurely along with my handy Kodak Easy Share camera, and clicking away at some of the many well spaced creative art works. For an enjoyable break from an otherwise routine day, I encourage you to visit and enjoy this free center of culture, in our midst.