“Big Water” is a stainless steel sculpture by Sculptor Foster Willey, recently installed at Wayzata’s east end roundabout as a welcoming gateway to the downtown. Commissioned by the City of Wayzata, the artwork celebrates the elegance and grandeur of Lake Minnetonka, inspired by the natural elements of the Wayzata landscape. The sculpture is a graceful, curvilinear form with a horizontal orientation, derived from the surrounding terrain of lake, land, and sky. It is carefully scaled to the site and stands approximately eight feet tall. It’s concentric form and animated composition has the feel and movement of waves and water.
Forecast Public Art facilitated the opportunity, with Willey’s design being selected by the City’s public art committee. Standing at the roundabout after the sculpture was installed, Wayzata Mayor Ken Willcox, who was on the project committee, said he’s excited for residents and visitors to view the city’s newest art piece. “I think it sends the right message that this is a city that really appreciates beauty and creativity,” Willcox said.
To create the 2,000-pound sculpture, Willey worked with an industrial fabricator and a structural engineer to create the larger components. The detail work and finishing was then done at his midway studio in St. Paul. The sculpture is dramatically lit for night viewing, with up-lighting accents on the exterior surface contours and color changing LED lights on the interior. The interior lights give the oval form an internal glow that projects color through the negative space intervals of the form and illuminates the inner walls.
Lake Minnetonka provides a picturesque setting for Wayzata residence and visitors. Currently its shoreline is being reimagined and developed as part of the City’s visionary Lake Effect Framework. Treasured and protected for its abundance, Lake Minnetonka is regarded as a spiritual land by the Mdewakanton Dakota Native Americans. “Big Water” is the English translation of the Dakota word “Minnetonka.”
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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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