A historic 1876 wrought iron bridge, currently retired and used as a pedestrian bridge in a rural county park near St. Peter, Minnesota, was temporarily transformed in the fall of 2011. The 115' long structure was wrapped with over 30,000 feet of commercial acrylic fiber braid.
In this project, an historic 1875 wrought iron bridge was used as a framework for an artistic intervention. Over its 136-year history, the bridge had been relocated twice, finally coming to rest as an active pedestrian crossing over Shanaska Creek in rural Le Sueur County, MN. Consistent with previous, smaller-scale projects, the artist's intention was to use an existing piece of Minnesota history as a framework for transformation. The artist researched bridges extensively throughout the state before identifying the Shanaska Creek Bridge. After proposing and receiving approval from the Le Sueur County Board of Commissioners, the artist worked on site for a period of three weeks during which time the bridge remained accessible to the public. The artistic intervention gives spatial definition to the volume of space created by the bridge's elegant truss design, and raises viewer's awareness of both the man-made structure and the natural setting simultaneously. The fiber bands were rarely static, as even gentle breezes vibrated them to give an overwhelming sense of movement to the site. The artist sought to integrate the installation with existing features of the landscape, specifically during the brief period when the fall leaves gave way to the first snowfall.
A major goal of the project was to include members of the community in various ways. Beyond casual interactions between artist and the public over the course of the installation, the artist contacted a local weaver's guild to re-purpose the fiber into creations of their own design- both functional and non-functional. One year after the de-installation of the project, the St. Peter Weavers exhibited their creations alongside documentation from the original installation. The exhibit was held at a local Art Center.
Exploring the potential of fibrous materials in a public setting, the project held particular significance as it combined both permanent and impermanent materials as well as engaging the past, present and future.
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Art matters. Attention to the details of our environment leads to love of place, which brings us to take responsibility for the spaces where we live and work. And by extension, the people with whom we live and work. And by extension, to our local communities, our cities, our nations, and our world.
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