The "I" in Edina
Three new pieces of highly-interactive public art--all designed by Edina elementary students--were installed on the Edina Promenade in October. Two of them were made in the Edina Community Center's Community Woodshop as part of an intergenerational collaboration between the students, their families, and longtime community woodshop champion Charles Morrill.
The interactive pieces are the culmination of months of work that began with a grant co-funded by the Edina Education Fund and the City’s Arts and Culture Commission. Last spring, students at each Edina elementary school got a lesson on public art, with curriculum written by Cornelia art teacher Shannon Steven, who wrote the "Classrooms to Community" grant. Students also had the chance to come up with ideas to represent the theme “I am” and create miniature versions of their proposal. In March, more than 130 students submitted their pieces to a judging panel and three students were matched with artists to help make their vision a reality.
Charles Morrill was so impressed with the creativity and imagination of the entries that he volunteered to create not one but two of the pieces over the summer. "I jumped at the chance to be part of the project," said Morrill. "When else would I have the opportunity to help build a piece of public art designed by Elementary School students?"
The seasoned woodworker said that when reviewing the winning student sculpture models, two really stood out to him. "Both Mac and Sylvia’s designs had that extra dimension that I think is important to public art – both invite the public to interact with them. I knew that these were projects that could be built in the Community Ed woodshop. We did most of the work over the summer when the wood shop is under-utilized, allowing us to bring in parents, grand parents, aunts, cousins, friends and more friends to help on the projects – great fun!"
"The I in Edina," designed by Concord student Mac Anderson and built with Charles Morrill, features oversized green building blocks that create the letters E, D, N and A. Footprints on the base of the piece indicate to visitors where to stand to become the "I." "The space between the D and the I is open so each person becomes an important part of Edina," said Mac.
"Rainbow Bridge," designed by Normandale student Sylvia VanNorman and built with Morrill, is a walk-through covered bridge with its sides and top made of translucent panels filled with multiple colors. The effect is like being inside a kaleidoscope.
A third piece, made in bronze by Edina sculptor Nick Legeros, was designed by Highlands student Ayana Griswold.
All three artworks, which are permanent installations, can be found on the Edina Promenade just south of 70th Street. Below, you can see student's original maquette side by side with the installations on the Edina Promenade.