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Sculpture tour’s success in Stillwater prompts expansion for next year

STILLWATER, Minn. -- The River City Sculpture Tour, which this year brought a moose, giant dragonfly and chokecherry tree to downtown Stillwater, has been such a success that the organizer is planning to make it bigger and better in 2017.

STILLWATER, Minn. - The River City Sculpture Tour, which this year brought a moose, giant dragonfly and chokecherry tree to downtown Stillwater, has been such a success that the organizer is planning to make it bigger and better in 2017.

Artist and tour founder Julie Pangallo said Tuesday, Dec. 6, that she plans to expand the free exhibit to downtown Bayport.

“The tour has been phenomenally well received,” Pangallo said. “People absolutely loved it. ”

The current tour, which runs until mid-April, includes 18 sculptures in three towns - 10 in Stillwater, four in Hastings and four in Prescott, Wis. If she can find sponsors to pay for the pedestals that hold the sculptures, Pangallo hopes to feature five sculptures in Bayport in 2017.

This year’s sculpture tour was funded mostly by corporate sponsorships and Discover Stillwater; it also won $5,000 in the Stillwater Area Foundation’s Great Ideas competition. The tour also received in-kind support from Main Street Stillwater IBA and St. Croix Boat & Packet Co., she said.

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“For future viability, there needs to be a sponsor for each pedestal/site,” Pangallo said. “I’m hopeful that securing sponsorships for 2017 will be easier now that the community has experienced and enjoyed the sculpture tour.”

Pangallo, who lives in Menomonie, Wis., has put out a call for artists interested in participating in next year’s tour. Anyone interested in having a sculpture on display from May 2017 to April 2018 should contact Pangallo by Jan. 3.

All sculptures must be family friendly, safe and durable enough to withstand public interaction and extreme weather. Each also must have a steel welding plate on its bottom.

Artists will receive a $500 stipend and have a chance to win a $1,000 People’s Choice Award. Visitors will vote on the sculptures in the next few months.

Artists have been keen to participate because of the exposure they receive, Pangallo said. “There have been five commission pieces that I know of already - pieces ordered directly from the artist because of the tour,” she said.

The works vary in size, from small bronze pieces to large creations, such as “Lucky Dragonfly Gong” by Dan Massopust. The sculptures range in price from $2,000 to $19,000.

Two of the sculptures have been sold. One of the largest, a steel moose by Stillwater artist John Hughes and erected at the base of the Stillwater Lift Bridge, now belongs to local businessman Greg Gartner, who had it installed outside his house, Pangallo said.

A sculpture of a giant curler by artist Dale Lewis has been erected in its place. “It should tie in nicely with the Ice Castle and Hockey Day Minnesota,” Pangallo said.

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“Chokecherry Tree,” also by Lewis, was bought by a Stillwater couple who have given permission for it to remain on display for a few more years, she said.

Supporters of the International Wolf Center in Ely hope to buy “Trapped,” Lewis’ sculpture of a life-sized female wolf made out of animal traps, which is on display near P.D. Pappy’s.

“I think ‘Egg Head’ (a bronze sculpture of Humpty Dumpty by artist Kimber Fiebiger) should go to a children’s playground or a library,” Pangallo said. “If someone is interested, they should contact me now.”

Pangallo said she wants eventually to expand the tour throughout the St. Croix River Valley - from St. Croix Falls, Wis., to LaCrosse, Wis.

“All of the artists have come from Minnesota and Wisconsin,” she said. “We have fabulous talent in our region, and I’m excited to promote that.”

Related Topics: ART
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