Beacon

Submitted by Janet Lofquist

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Client: City of Minnepolis Art in Public Places

Location: Minneapollis, Minnesota, United States

Completion date: 2013

Artwork budget: $190,000

Project Team

Artist

Janet Lofquist

Janet Lofquist LLC

Industry Resource

Steven Johnson

Rainville Carlson

Industry Resource

Michael Cohen

Schuler Shook Lighting

Industry Resource

Ken Green

Mattson Macdonald Young Engineers

Landscape Architect

Michael Jischke

SRF Consulting Group, Inc.

Overview

Beacon is a sculptural tribute to former Minneapolis Mayor Sharon Sayles Belton, the city’s first African American and first female mayor. Located along a corridor that connects the city’s diverse communities it is a vessel and a metaphor for community. Constructed in a metal warp and weft matrix the multi-faceted shimmering stainless steel surface produces a play of light and shadow while the red interior emits a warm glow. As one moves around the piece, its surfaces create a dynamic mosaic of changing pattern and color.

Goals

Creating an anchor point for the small plaza and terminus for the Frank Lloyd Wright inspired bridge design, the sculptural space includes lighting, seating and landscaping. The sculpture creates a formal relationship with the bridge through the use of materials, color, transparency, repetition and pattern, silhouetted curves and lighting. It also contrasts with the bridge design by creating a strong vertical element as a singular cohesive form that compliments the linear nature of the bridge.

The sculptural space is further enhanced by the inclusion of text. In Sayles Belton’s State of the City Addresses a recurring theme asks how we can create connections between citizens, businesses and city government that continue to build on our strengths. On the back wall of the plaza I have included some of those excerpts. From her 1997 address, she asks us inspirational and thought provoking questions that will continue to be relevant well into the future: What legacy will we leave? What are the values and virtues that we will honor? What gifts will be bestow on our children and our children’s children? Where does our pride spring from? These questions can continue to guide us today in a community dialogue.

Process

Outgoing Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Ryback wanted to dedicate the sculpture and the renovated bridge before leaving office. With only 6 months from the initial concept proposal to the dedication ceremony the fast paced schedule required the collaboration and cooperation of numerous city public works departments, the City of Minneapolis Art in Public Places program, the engineer, lighting designer and landscape architect, numerous fabricators and subcontractors.