_[ is a sculpture by Minneapolis-based artist Cameron Gainer. Nicknamed “Minne the Lake Creature,” the sculpture made its way into the hearts and minds of Minneapolis parks visitors when it summered in the city’s lakes from 2009 to 2015. In 2017, Minne was retired from Minneapolis lakes and returned to sculptor Cameron Gainer.

The sculpture is based on the iconic “Surgeon’s Photo” of 1934 that was presented as “definitive evidence” of the existence of Scotland’s infamous Loch Ness Monster. It’s one of a trilogy of sculptures created for public places by Gainer, whose public works have been inspired by iconic images drawn from the popular imagination, such as the Loch Ness Monster, Bigfoot and the impact of a massive meteor into the side of a museum.

About Minne the Lake Creature

  • The official title of the sculpture is the glyph: _ [ .
  • The sculpture debuted as an Art in the Park project in Brooklyn, NY, where it was installed in the Salt Marsh Nature Preserve.
  • It first came to Minneapolis in 2009, on loan to the Minneapolis Parks Foundation from Gainer.
  • The Minneapolis Parks Foundation purchased the Lake Creature in 2010.
  • Also in 2010, community members voted for the sculpture’s nickname, “Minne, the Lake Creature.” Minne means water in Dakota.
  • The sculpture is 13’ tall, 6’ wide and 11’ long and is made of aircraft quality fiberglass and aluminum and finished with marine-rated paint.
  • In addition to New York, Florida, and of course Minnesota, the sculpture was a highlight of a winter-long art exhibition at Brigham Young University in Utah in 2013-14.
  • In 2010-11, the Parks Foundation sponsored youth groups in making Minne-inspired milk carton boats to enter into the famous Aquatennial race.
  • Also in 2010, the Parks Foundation and The Loft Literary Center collaborated on a Minne-inspired children’s writing class.

Minne and our Minneapolis Lakes

  • Minneapolis has 17 lakes and ponds, of which nine were suitable for the sculpture. Suitability was determined by water depth, current, and type of lakebed.
  • The nine lakes that could host the sculpture were Brownie Lake, Cedar Lake, Lake Calhoun, Lake Harriet, Lake Hiawatha, Lake of the Isles, Lake Nokomis, Powderhorn Lake, and Wirth Lake.
  • From 2009-2011, the sculpture appeared in as many as four lakes in a season.
  • Beginning in 2012, the sculpture began summering in one lake each season, because of environmental factors and relocation costs.
  • From 2013-2015, community members chose which lake the sculpture would be installed in, through polls on Facebook and the Parks Foundation’s website.