OVER-SIZED SCULPTURES, roadside kitsch—whatever term you tag to mammoth outdoor art, I’m a fan. Many Minnesota communities, from Fergus Falls’ otter to Rothsay’s prairie chicken to Garrison’s walleye, identify themselves with public art symbols.
Most recently I discovered Pete the Pelican in Pelican Rapids, a northwestern Minnesota town some 50 miles from Fargo, North Dakota. We made a day trip there from Detroit Lakes, where we stayed for a few days recently. Our eventual destination: Maplewood State Park to the east of Pelican Rapids.
We parked downtown, walked around, popped into artist Marcella Rose’s studio and shop,
and then looked for Pete the Pelican. The iconic symbol stands 15 ½ feet high and was built from steel, concrete and plaster in 1957. He sits on a concrete base at Mill Pond Dam along the Pelican River.
A nearby park features a unique suspension bridge which also drew our interest.
Other, smaller, “friends of Pete” pelican sculptures are scattered throughout the downtown adding to the town’s artsy appeal.
Pete the Pelican has become a tourist attraction in Pelican Rapids, providing lots of photo ops. This is a town I’ll long remember precisely because of the public pelican art.
TELL ME: Are you drawn to over-sized sculptures? Give me examples of such public art you’ve seen and like. What value do they add to a place?
Please check back for another post from Pelican Rapids.
© Copyright 2019 Audrey Kletscher Helbling