It is with great pride and excitement that Snelling Midway Redevelopment (SMR) announces that an iconic and large-scale public artwork will be installed in a newly created one-acre public park at the southeast corner of the Snelling Avenue and University Avenue intersection. The sculpture and the park are part of the next phase of the United Village development in the Midway community of Saint Paul, Minnesota. The area is a major redevelopment site of over 35-acres that includes Allianz Field, the award-winning and highly acclaimed soccer stadium that was privately constructed in 2019.
The heroic artwork depicts a Loon taking flight and will measure nearly 33 feet high and 88 feet wide. It is being created by Andy Scott, the internationally renowned Scottish figurative artist who is currently based in Los Angeles, California. The work has been commissioned by the McGuire Family Foundation. Installation of the sculpture is anticipated for early summer 2024 following completion by SMR of the public park that is currently being constructed.
Commenting on the initiative, Dr. Bill McGuire said “the role that art will play in the United Village development has been part of its planning from the very beginning. We feel strongly that art can be an important part of communities and should be accessible, have wide appeal, and be an integral part of the area. When we came across Andy’s work, discussed his vision and approach with him and saw his sketch ideas, it was obvious that this work would be an extraordinary addition to the community. The appropriate site for it was clearly the most prominent and visible location possible where it could be optimally viewed by and interact with the people in the community, Minnesotans from throughout the state, and visitors from everywhere.”
The artist added, “When I was first introduced to the project and the opportunity, our study of the possibilities made it quickly apparent that there was one truly compelling possible route to take – and that was with a representation of the Loon. It’s so symbolic of Minnesota, the natural environment that has helped define it, and the people who have called it home throughout its history. The Loon has a unique and enduring place in the hearts of all Minnesotans and is a cause for such great civic pride.”
The work of Andy Scott combines traditional draftsmanship and sculpting methods with a contemporary approach to fabrication on a large scale. Working by hand, he uses a distinctive welded steel assembly technique which develops sculptural forms that are made up of thousands of meticulously assembled small steel sections and panels. The results are striking and powerful. He has received numerous awards for his work and has over 90 public installations across the world including in the United Kingdom, Ireland, the Netherlands, Spain, Mexico, Australia, and the United States. His most well-known sculpture is _The Kelpies_, a 100-foot-tall sculpture in Falkirk, Scotland. That work draws hundreds of thousands of visitors annually to the area and is widely regarded as having brought an immense sense of community pride and engagement, vitality, and economic enhancement to the area.
The sculpture will sit in a public park designed by the world-renowned architectural firm Populous, who also designed Allianz Field, the centerpiece of United Village. The new sculpture will form a cornerstone of the next phase of the United Village development that will also include a unique all-abilities children’s play area, a distinctive hotel designed to reflect the Midway area and its history, two pavilion restaurants overlooking an existing “Great Lawn”, a sustainable mixed-use building that includes offices and a community social area, and extensive landscaping. Other public artworks in the development include two outdoor sculptures – the iconic UNITED sculpture that sits at the southwest corner of Allianz Field, and OMNIS by widely acclaimed American artist James Sanborn. Additional public art installations are contemplated for the development.
Recognizing the importance of the Loon to the broader community and the State itself, the location of the sculpture offers excellent transportation connections for the wider Twin Cities area through public light rail and rapid transit bus lines, an adjacent state freeway and main roads for autos, bicycle routes and easy pedestrian walkways. Emblematic of its status as the state bird, Andy Scott’s magnificent sculpture will sit at the gateway to the Minnesota State Fair.