Native American Artists Share Inspiration for Skyline Mini-Golf Holes

The Walker Art Center collaborated with the Native Youth Arts Collective on two new artist-designed holes
Skyline Mini Golf is back for summer 2021 at the Walker Art Center, with two new holes in collaboration with Native Youth Arts Collective
Skyline Mini Golf is back for summer 2021 at the Walker Art Center, with two new holes in collaboration with Native Youth Arts Collective

Photo by Bobby Rogers, Walker Art Center

The Walker Art Center’s rooftop mini-golf course is back this summer. After taking 2020 off, Skyline Mini Golf opened last week at the museum and runs through September 26.

Among the 10 artist-designed holes, the two new ones were created in collaboration with Native Youth Arts Collective. Here’s a little background on “Turtle Pond” and “Dream Catcher”:

"Turtle Pond" mini-golf course
“Turtle Pond” mini-golf course

Courtesy Aiyana Kline (Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians)

“Turtle Pond”

For a turtle-inspired hole, 23-year-old artist Aiyana Kline (Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians) says they based the design on the turtle’s sacred status in Anishinaabe culture, noting that the course is meant to represent Turtle Island. (According to the Canadian Encyclopedia, the turtle is said to “support the world” in various Indigenous origin stories, and Turtle Island “speaks to various spiritual beliefs about creation and for some, the turtle is a marker of identity, culture, autonomy, and a deeply-held respect for the environment.”)

On the turtle’s shell, you’ll see a floral emblem. “This is to replicate the ideation of vegetation growth on the back of the turtle,” Kline said in an email. The player tees off at the turtle’s tail, putts across the shell or through the pond, and aims for a hole located in the eye, according to a press release.

Kline, a 2021 Minneapolis College of Art and Design grad, studied illustration and art history, and is looking ahead to a project in character design inspired by Anishinaabe folklore.

"Dream Catcher" mini-golf course
“Dream Catcher” mini-golf course

Brenna White (Red Lake Band of Ojibwe/Chippewa Indians)

“Dream Catcher”

Brenna White (Red Lake Band of Ojibwe/Chippewa Indians) hails from Red Lake, Minnesota, and now lives in the Little Earth community in Minneapolis. The 25-year-old artist says the concept for “Dream Catcher” came from listening to her community and elders. “I got the idea from the stories they told me and I asked if it would be OK if I shared it,” she said via email.

“Like a spider’s web, [the course] catches bad dreams and releases positive energy,” the course description reads. (White adds that the dream catcher has “many meanings and stories.”) You tee off at the top of the net “and see which feather guides your path.”

White has worked with Native Youth Arts Collective for five years and previously collaborated with the Walker on a stop-motion animation residency and as part of a project with Minnesota artist Frank Big Bear.

If you go

Skyline Mini Golf is open Thursday through Sunday, with tickets $10 per person ($8 for Walker member and ages 7-8; free for ages 6 and under with paid adult).

Tee times start at 11 a.m. and go until 30 minutes before the course closes. Until June 3, closing hours are 9 p.m. Thursdays, 6 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, and 5 p.m. Sundays. After June 3, the course closes at 8 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. Review visitor guidelines here.

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