Public Art Is Blooming in Roseville and Beyond

The seven-foot-tall roses popping up around the city are just some of the many public art pieces you can visit in the metro
Two roses are specifically centered around kids: "Painting the Roses Red" by Kimberly McCracken is outside the Roseville Library and has a coloring activity integrated into the library's summer programming, and "The Value of Education" by Cora Hays brings awareness to the Kids in Need Foundation's school supply drive. Roseville in Bloom is a public art series happening this summer.
From left: “Flower Power” by Wendy McCarty is located outside the nonprofit TSE Inc. “The Value of Education” by Cora Hays brings awareness to the Kids in Need Foundation’s school supply drive.

Courtesy Visit Roseville

Across Roseville, 20 roses almost seven feet tall have sprouted up, and each is covered in whimsical, thought provoking, or community-based designs by local artists for the public art project, Roseville in Bloom. Adam Turman created one inspired by all you can do in the city’s Central Park; Christopher Straub, the other signature artist on the project, integrated his experience as a fashion designer. Two roses are made with children in mind—Kimberly McCracken’s rose outside Roseville Library comes with a kids coloring contest, and Cora Hays made one outside the Kids in Need Foundation to help raise awareness for the organization’s school supply drive. As for the rest? You’ll have to see for yourself before they leave on October 31. (Need help getting started? Here’s the map with their locations.)

The gigantic blooms are some of the newest pieces of public art this summer, but if you need a quick refresher of other options, here are some Twin Cities’ favorites: 

Caponi Art Park

Nestled in Eagan, the Caponi Art Park is 60 acres of trails, wooded hills, and of course, art. With 20 sculptures by park founder Anthony Caponi and other artists, socially distanced yoga classes, and group walking tours, you’ll find yourself spending more and more time here.

Centennial Lakes Park

This Edina park features three statues, but you can fill up your afternoon with a walk around the 24 acres (don’t forget about the mini maze) and some time at the park’s putting course and Scottish Links putting green. If you’re not into golf, not a problem. The park is rife with idyllic spots to relax at, and with our list of picnicking tips, you’ll have the perfect outing. 

Midway Murals in St. Paul

Explore these murals celebrating heritage, community, and diversity with the help of the Midway Murals story map, created by a partnership between the University of St. Thomas’ SOLV Initiative and the Midway Murals. One of our favorites? Yuya Negishi’s green phoenix, which brings together the histories of the past to try and build a better future. 

Minneapolis Public Art Tours

With some help from the Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board and the City of Minneapolis, you can create your own public art tour. Check out the online tours that cover various regions of the city, complete with time estimates for biking, driving, and walking.

Minneapolis Sculpture Garden

Yes, we know that you know the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden exists, but what kind of public art roundup would this be without it? And, in case you missed it, the Walker Art Center and its delicious eatery, Esker Grove, are opening up to the general public July 16 (with members being allowed in July 10).

Murals for George Floyd

These pieces of art may be too bittersweet and wreathed in tragedy to be called “favorites,” but they are some of the most important pieces of art in the Twin Cities right now. Although some of the wooden boards are being taken down, make your way to Cup Foods to see some of the murals and memorials that are still there.

Sidewalk Poetry

While the annual sidewalk poetry event looks a little different this year—get your chalk out—you can enjoy old poems. Find sidewalk poetry locations with Public Art St. Paul’s map, or simply try meandering around places like Wacouta Commons and Mears Park. If you’re not familiar with the event, get the scoop on it here.

St. Paul-Changsha China Friendship Garden

We all know and love Como Park’s Japanese Garden (and in case you want to visit, the Marjorie McNeely Conservatory is now open for reservations), but for an outdoor space with a different Asian influence, consider a trip to the St. Paul-Changsha China Friendship Garden. Although the leaders of the garden have not completed their vision for the 1.2 acres at Phalen Regional Park, you can enjoy the West Entrance Archway, Xiang Jiang Pavilion, Meditation sculpture, and the Hmong Heritage Wall.

Western Sculpture Park

Half a mile from the state capital (and about four blocks away from Wonders Ice Cream and its rolled ice cream), St. Paul’s Western Sculpture Park is a serpentine pattern of paths that leads you to 16 sculptures made from artists across the country. The newest is Aardvark Shed by local Souliyahn Keobounpheng, which during normal summers doubles as a creative space for eARThlab workshops.

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