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Downtown Grand Forks gets planter in shape of huge head

A concrete planter in the shape of a human head sits at the main entrance to Grand Forks City Hall on Tuesday. It was decorated by children at an Artwise event in town. Photo credit: Tu-Uyen Tran / Grand Forks Herald.

A colorful statue of a bald human head as tall as a minivan was delivered to Grand Forks City Hall Tuesday morning with no explanation.

John Bernstrom, a public information officer, said he was confused when he arrived at work to see the head by the front door.

But it was just a planter brought there by the Urban Development Office.

Deputy Director Meredith Richards said the weather is too cool right now to plant anything in it. Kids attending the Artwise festival in town painted it for the city, she said.

The city bought three of the concrete heads from Plant Green Ideas, a Chicago nonprofit group dedicated to sustainability, and 15 of them had decorated that city’s Michigan Avenue last summer, she said.

According to Plant Green Ideas, the heads are made of recycled metal and concrete. Some look like bald women and some like bald men.

The city of Grand Forks is using the one at City Hall to promote sustainability downtown, Richards said.

The other heads have been lent to Grand Forks’ Downtown Development Association for promotional use, she said. There’s been some talk of maybe putting them out at the airport telling visitors to “head downtown,” she said.

“We’ve been making bad puns as long as we’ve had them,” she said.

The city paid $5,000 for the heads and $2,800 for shipping, all of which came out of the city’s beautification fund, she said. It was a bargain because the Chicago group liked that a small Midwestern town wanted to promote sustainability, too, she said.

Tu-Uyen Tran
Tran is an enterprise reporter with the Forum of Fargo-Moorhead. He began his newspaper career in 1999 as a reporter for the Grand Forks Herald, now owned by Forum Communications. He began working for the Forum in September 2014. Tran grew up in Seattle and graduated from the University of Washington.
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