Edit ModuleShow Tags

Are You Down?


Published:

When I travel I am always partial to the out-of-the-way attractions, those that may not be top of mind when you visit a particular area but offer unique experiences nonetheless. One such Minnesota attraction may be the Franconia Sculpture Park located near the picturesque community of Taylors Falls, just 35 miles northwest of the Twin Cities. While I've never been there, it will be part of my itinerary on my next trip to the area.

Franconia Sculpture Park is a unique community arts organization that provides residence and work space for sculptors from around the world. The 20-acre sculpture park, free and open every day of the year, provides space for a rotating collection of nearly 100 contemporary sculptures. At a special event on September 11, at 6 p.m., a new permanent installation will be dedicated at the site. Are You Down? is a moving tribute to the Tuskegee Airmen, the informal name given to the group of brave African American pilots who fought during World War II.

Are You Down? was created by internationally recognized artist Michael Richards during a Jerome Fellowship residency at Franconia Sculpture Park in 2000. A native of Brooklyn, Richards was raised in Kingston, Jamaica, but he graduated with honors from Excelsior High School. He went on to earn an arts degree from Queens College and a Masters of Fine Arts degree from New York University. After his work at Franconia, Richards was selected for World Views, the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council’s residency program. He was at work in his studio in the World Trade Center and was tragically killed during the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

The sculpture depicts three airmen, who have recently landed from a parachute jump, sitting disconsolate on the ground. The downed men speak to the bravery of the aviators during a time of war, but also of freedoms and dreams that have come to the ground in the face of intolerance. Originally made of fiberglass resin, the sculpture was recently recast in bronze for the permanent installation.

The poignant piece preserves the legacy of Michael Richards’ art on a day that carries with it the weight of a pivotal moment in U.S. history and the life of the artist.

Franconia Sculpture Park
29836 St. Croix Trail
Franconia, MN

For a full day of fun in the area, check out the 16th Annual Art & Artists Celebration40 new scultures, family activities, and entertainmenton September 22, 10 a.m.-10 p.m.
 

Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags

About This Blog

Whether you are a seasoned Twin Cities traveler or planning your first trip to Minnesota, this blog will introduce you to many new adventures to add to your itinerary. From day trips and scenic discoveries to luxurious girls weekends, travel tips, and insider scoops, our editors will give you all the information you need to enjoy your stay Up North.

Learn about the contributing writers.

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Travel Blog

Surly Gives a Damn in Duluth, Builds Trail

Surly Brewing Co.’s charitable component, Surly Gives a Damn, completed its latest project by building a trail in Duluth’s newest park.

48 Hours in Chicago

From luxury boutique hotels and contemporary dining to modern art and innovative retail, Chicago is a great summer road trip destination

Weekend Best Bets: August 18–20

Your weekend to-do list for the Twin Cities

Haunted, Condemned Inn on Its Way to Restoration

A Minneapolis couple works to restore Superior’s Raspberry Inn to its former glory in the presence of the paranormal.

Yarn Bombing at Mall of America: From Public Nuisance to Artistic Expression

The Mall of America gets a new, huge, brightly colored installation of yarn art courtesy of local artist HOTTEA. It's the same idea as graffiti—just less controversial.

Booze and Boards: Handmade Paddleboards Inspired by Prohibition

Fitzke Boards combines new ideas with old style, creating handmade, wooden paddleboards that pay homage to the 1920s and Prohibition.

Weekend Best Bets: August 11–13

Your weekend to-do list around the Twin Cities

End-of-Summer Shows: August Concerts and Festivals

Make the most of the final summer month by attending one of the many remaining concerts and music festivals. Happening all over the state within several genres, there’s something for everyone.

Spilling the Beans: What I Learned From 5 Minneapolis Coffee Shops In 3 Hours

These are the best drinks from cafe favs on the Twin Cities Caffeine Crawl this year—plus sophisticated brewing methods and tidbits of coffee trivia

Discover MN

What’s new around the state

The Wabasha Wander

Wind your way along the Mississippi to discover soaring eagles, homemade toys, and the inspiration for Grumpy Old Men

Circus Juventas Goes Norse with New Show Nordrsaga

The St. Paul circus turns acrobatics and pyrotechnics into a modern retelling of Nordic mythos

7 Tasty Bites Coming to Anoka Food Truck Festival

On July 22, check out these favorite creations of vendors attending Anoka's food truck festival

Top 10 Places to Camp in Minnesota

Looking for a way to enjoy Minnesota’s natural beauty this summer? Take a look at this compilation of the top 10 places to camp in the state of 10,000 lakes.
Edit ModuleEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags