Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Touring Franconia Sculpture Park, Part II October 23, 2014

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IF YOU’RE LIKE ME and grew up in a rural area with minimal access to the arts, you appreciate every affordable opportunity to experience art as an adult. For that reason, I often showcase the arts here.

I want you to be aware of the wonderful arts opportunities right in your own Minnesota backyard. To you readers who live elsewhere, I expect you will find local or regional artistic venues unknown to you or unexplored by your for whatever reason.

A snippet overview of Franconia shows "The Harris Project" by Ohio artist Araan Schmidt in the foreground.

A snippet overview of Franconia shows “The Harris Project” by Ohio artist Araan Schmidt in the foreground.

That brings us back to the Franconia Sculpture Park which, since its founding in 1996, has supported 735 national and international artists. Impressive. It offers an artist residency program. And to think I’ve never explored this 25-acre park with 100-plus oversized sculptures southwest of Taylors Falls until a few weeks ago.

But then again I’ve never been to the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden either and that’s been around since 1988 and its even closer to my home than Franconia. I really must tour the Minneapolis park sometime. It’s my lack of fondness for urban traffic and urban areas that’s kept me away.

Minnesota artist Mary Johnson's "Lizard Lounge."

Minnesota artist Mary Johnson’s “Lizard Lounge.”

Give me rural any day, one of the reasons I appreciate Franconia so much. It’s located in Franconia Township, which nestles¬†the St. Croix River. The park runs flat and open and stands next to farm fields.

With these hours, there's ample opportunity to tour Franconia.

With these hours, there’s ample opportunity to tour Franconia.

Yesterday I offered you a photo tour glimpse of Franconia, which is open dawn to dusk every day. Here’s one more peek at the art you’ll find there.

Donations are encouraged to support the park.

Donations are encouraged to support the park.

Admission is free, although donations are encouraged.

ONWARD, INTO THE TOUR:

It's interesting to study the light reflecting on these triangles. New York City artist Ryan W. Turley created this sculpture which he calls "Spectacle."

It’s interesting to study the light reflecting on these triangles. New York City artist Ryan W. Turley created this sculpture which he calls “Spectacle.”

There's something about the bend of this sculpture and its positioning that drew my eye.

There’s something about the bend of this sculpture and its positioning that drew my eye. And, yes, that’s a cornfield in the background.

There are a few, what one would consider, more traditional sculptures like this one.

There are a few, what one would consider, more traditional sculptures like this haunting one.

Art in progress.

Art in progress.

I couldn't figure out if this was art or the home of a resident artist or both.

I couldn’t figure out if this was art or the home of a resident artist or both.

Maryland artist James R. Long calls his sculpture "Vessel with Orbs." To me it looks like BINGO balls minus the numbers and letters.

Maryland artist James R. Long calls his sculpture “Vessel with Orbs.” To me it looks like BINGO balls minus the numbers and letters.

I really liked this sculpture

My impression of this sculpture: escape.

CLICK HERE TO READ my first post about Franconia Sculpture Park.

© Copyright 2014 Audrey Kletscher Helbling