Just over eight years ago, the launch of a unique public art experience touched the lives of countless people in Minneapolis parks – the charming sculpture officially titled “ _[ ” and also known affectionately as Minne the Lake Creature.
Minne was a magical addition to people’s experience of the Minneapolis park system and our lakes. For the past two years, however, the sculpture’s intrigue has been overshadowed by the reality of owning and maintaining a piece of public art that is exposed to the elements and human behavior. In the summer of 2015, the sculpture was vandalized while in the public realm, making it apparent that changes in how people use Minneapolis lakes made it vulnerable to further structural damage.
After much thought and evaluation, including considering a fundraising campaign to restore the sculpture, the Minneapolis Parks Foundation has deemed it time to close this chapter in our organization’s story. We’ve returned the sculpture to it’s creator – artist Cameron Gainer – to be conserved and repaired.
We didn’t make this choice lightly. However, this step allows us to focus on our core mission – parks projects that help us transform human life, such as RiverFirst and the community parks investments we make throughout the city.
We continue to find exciting, innovative ways to transform lives through parks and the public realm. Looking ahead, we have no doubt that the sense of wonder and magic Minne brought us remains within the natural world and shared spaces in Minneapolis parks. And, like the mythic creature that it was modeled after, Minne’s lore will live on as a part of our city’s history.