Tuesday May 30th 2023

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Artists Invited to Submit Design Ideas for Light-Emitting Sculpture


The Midtown Greenway Coalition is issuing a call for artists to submit their ideas for a beautiful and stunning light-emitting sculpture. As mentioned in a previous Alley article, the purposes of the sculpture are to create exciting art that brings joy and makes you say “WOW!”, light up a dark area, and serve as a wayfinding beacon to help people find their way onto and off of the Greenway. This is a project of the Midtown Greenway Coalition with an Advisory Team composed of seven residents from the 2800 and 2900 blocks of 18th Avenue South, adjacent to the proposed sculpture location. I am honored to serve as Project Manager (a volunteer position) and work with the Advisory Team on this exciting project. 

The sculpture will be located at the top of the entrance ramp to the Midtown Greenway at 18th Avenue. It will be about 12 feet wide and will be suspended up in the air about 12 feet above the trail surface. The body of the sculpture will emit light; perhaps through sheathing made of translucent acrylic material or perforated metal, or a surface that glows or has lights. Out of the bottom of the sculpture there will be lights aimed downward to the pavement to light up the pathway and adjacent sidewalk, and perhaps also out onto the roadway at the trail/roadway intersection. 

Location of the desired public art piece.

After receiving sketches from artists showing design ideas, the Advisory Team will select three finalists based on feasibility, artist capacity to complete the project, and how exciting each design is. Community members, Midtown Greenway trail users, and the public will then be invited to vote for their favorite design from among the three finalists. 

After a design is selected, the winning artist will be invited to enter into a contract for up to $8,000 to create a detailed design that can be submitted to the City of Minneapolis for approval. The detailed design will include sculpture dimensions, materials, infrastructure to hold it up in the air, information on repair methods if damaged, an engineer’s stamp of approval for structural integrity, and a licensed electrician’s approval for the electrical workings and solar panels that will power the sculpture. We expect that the winning artist will eventually be contracted for sculpture construction and installation as well. 

We hope to complete the design phase by February 28, 2022. After we have our design, we’ll apply for approval to install the sculpture in the public space above the Greenway entrance ramp and raise money for sculpture construction and installation. The sculpture will be installed in 2022 or 2023. 

Artists interested in submitting a design can see the competition rules at Submissions due by Friday December 3.

Public art at West Broadway and Penn Avenue North in Minneapolis. Photo by Tim Springer

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