Pete the Pelican in Pelican Rapids, Minnesota
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.
The scenic early October drive to Pelican Rapids from Detroit Lakes.
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.
The horses seem to be galloping off this painting by Marcella Rose, such is the movement she brushed into the scene.
Marcella Rose’s pelican art.
The varied art of Marcella Rose.
We parked downtown, walked around, popped into artist Marcella Rose’s studio and shop,
Pete the Pelican
Signage about Pete the Pelican.
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.
Walking toward the suspension bridge. More info coming in a second post.
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 from another perspective.
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