Grand Forks public art group planning spring installation
Public art near 42nd Street has been talked about for years in Grand Forks, but by springtime, it may be a reality. Mike Kuntz, the president of the Public Arts Commission's Board of Directors, said he's engaged in contract negotiations with a Ca...
Public art near 42nd Street has been talked about for years in Grand Forks, but by springtime, it may be a reality.
Mike Kuntz, the president of the Public Arts Commission’s Board of Directors, said he’s engaged in contract negotiations with a California-based artist to place large-scale work of public art near 42nd Street and DeMers Avenue by spring of next year. It’s the culmination of years of talk about public art and the community’s future, and the beginning of a process that could see a total of five such contracts inked in the next year.
“The whole concept wasn’t to launch just one sculpture,” Kuntz said. “It’s more about the citywide, grander city. And that’s really what I think we’ve come up with as a group, to drive a bigger plan and a bigger vision for making Grand Forks grander.”
Negotiations are underway with the Napa, Calif.-based Gordon Heuther, and renderings of a potential sculpture produced by his studio show two curved, metal arcs that are paired in a 30-foot X shape and dotted with what look to be colored pieces of glass. A model of the sculpture suggests it may be lit internally.
It’s the first of five such works of art that are expected to cost more than $1 million and be placed throughout the community. Kuntz said the group has more than $500,000 on hand, and plans to close the gap with private donations and “key founding partners in the public art movement.”
Talk of public art has gained steam since 2014, when the family of Forum Communications Co. Chairman William C. Marcil announced a $300,000 gift toward local public art , a portion of which will be spent by PAC as it finalizes public art contracts. The city of Grand Forks and Community Foundation partnered on a local arts and culture master plan in 2015 that built a framework for how the city would organize its push for selecting and placing public art. That, in turn, led to the formation of PAC, which became the leading local public art group in Grand Forks last year.
Leaders with PAC interviewed Heuther and U.K. artist Bruce Munro in April as they searched for prospective visions for large-scale art. While Heuther is building the first statue, Munro may be contracted to contribute an installation as well.
While Heuther’s sculpture is expected to be placed near 42nd Street and DeMers Avenue, the other four locations for art are still being finalized, Kuntz said.
“As a group, we’ve slowed down and taken our time to do it right,” said Kuntz. “We went through a national search … and had just an overwhelming response of over 80 national and international artists. We really feel like we’ve arrived at the best of the best for Grand Forks.”