Sep 23

The Dragonfly Effect: New Sculpture Installed in East Bridge Park

Posted on September 23, 2023 at 10:25 AM by Haley Foster

The Dragonfly Effect: New Sculpture Installed in East Bridge Park

The beautiful, floral landscaping of East Bridge Park has attracted thousands of pollinators and people alike to Monticello for decades. Now, another addition paying homage to the park’s significance has come to town!Parker McDonald's new sculpture in East Bridge Park

At 10 a.m. on Thursday, Sept. 21 city staff, MontiArts, members of the Parks, Arts, & Recreation Commission, the City’s volunteer Garden Club, and the Dragonfly Society of MN gathered at East Bridge Park to welcome Parker McDonald and celebrate his latest creation for Monticello: a new sculpture of a dragonfly, grasshopper, and a ladybug on long stalks.

McDonald says dragonflies have always been a fascination of his, “When I was a kid, I was always outside, always catching and collecting insects and dragonflies.”

When he was young, McDonald ‘caught’ an unhatched dragonfly, brought it home and put it in an aquarium. He says when it hatched, there was a beautiful, big, green, and blue dragonfly. That experience sparked his love and affinity for dragonflies.

“This is the fourth dragonfly sculpture I’ve made, but it is the largest,” said McDonald.

Several years ago, East and West Bride Park were home to significant dragonfly research efforts in Minnesota. A founding member of the Dragonfly Society of MN, Curt Oien, spoke briefly about Arne Myrabo, a Monticello resident whose research and work in our city’s parks received state-wide recognition.

“Minnesota was one of the most under surveyed states for dragonfly research in the country,” said Oien, “Arne’s contributions made a huge impact on what we know now. So much so, that he was even awarded a volunteer of the year award for his work as a as a Minnesota Master Naturalist and his dragonfly surveys.”

That research and its impact inspired the installation of this sculpture.

“A few years ago, this concept was submitted to the City of Monticello for East Bridge Park and it really stood out to us, especially because of the dragonfly significance this park has. It was a close, close second to ‘The Gathering’ sculpture you see at the entrance now, but we knew we wanted to incorporate it somehow,” said Parks, Arts, and Recreation Director Tom Pawelk. “Last year, when Parker was here for the Bass sculpture installation at Ellison Park, we put the wheels in motion for this project,” he added.

This stunning sculpture would not have been possible without the grant we received from the Central MN Arts Board (CMAB). We also would like to give a huge shout out to our wonderful MontiArts team, our volunteer garden club for all their hard work keeping or community beautiful and selecting a beautiful place for the sculpture to go, all the city staff who helped with the planning and installation, and Parker himself for being a pillar in our arts community for over two decades, and inspiring local artists with his talents!

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About the Monticello Arts Initiative

Monticello's growing arts and entertainment options provide a variety of experiences for all ages! Connectivity through creativity is the core value behind the Monticello Arts Initiative (MontiArts). What started as an initiative in 2018 to help make the downtown area a vibrant, invigorating space where people enjoy spending time and being active - has grown into a thriving group that connects local creatives to one another. 

Whether you enjoy the over 30 pieces of public art in Monticello (sculptures, murals, etc.), participate in the GLOW parade, High School Art Club, or their weekly events like open mic night or open studio; MontiArts has something for everyone!

If you would like to learn more about MontiArts or are interested in getting involved, follow MontiArts on Facebook, email the MontiArts or visit their website for more information!

Gathered at East Bridge Park to welcome Parker McDonald and celebrate his latest creation.

May 16

MontiArts: “The Gathering” in East Bridge Park

Posted on May 16, 2023 at 2:48 PM by Haley Foster

“The Gathering” in East Bridge Park

Next time you're in East Bridge Park, make sure you check out "The Gathering," our gorgeous new sculpture by The Milligan Studio. The piece was paid for by a grant from the Central MN Arts Board (CMAB) and a generous donation from the Monticello Lions Club. It’s the newest expression of how the Monticello community is embracing art throughout the downtown.

The artists, Milligan StudioThe sculpture selection process was carefully created by MontiArts. Direction Sue Seeger noted, "We held a nation-wide call for art, and 38 artists or studios applied. MontiArts narrowed it to five finalists. Then a selection committee made up of City Councilmembers; Parks, Arts and Recreation Commission members; artists; Lions members; city staff, and citizens at large was formed to choose the finalist.” Using ranked choice voting, the committee selected an entry from Alan and Nicole Milligan of The Milligan Studio.

Seeger and Tom Pawelk, The City of Monticello's Parks, Arts, and Recreation Director, worked closely with the Milligans to ensure the community was involved and represented in this piece. 

The goal of the sculpture is to bring people together, the glass pieces are meant to represent fish. The steel of the sculpture represents reeds in the river. The fish are swimming and congregating amongst the reeds, symbolized by the steel. The beauty of our city’s rivers and parks acts as a gathering place for celebrations, a place to admire nature, and where we can play outside with loved ones.

Pawelk, Seeger, and the rest of MontiArts look forward to adding more locations for art and sculpture installations around the city. "Former local sculptor Parker McDonald was a close second, and huge sentimental favorite, with many expressing that they really hoped we could get something from him installed as well at some point," said Seeger. "So, we've applied for another grant to get a piece from him installed at Ellison Park. We are still waiting to hear if we'll be awarded that grant.  If we get the grant we'll install his piece next summer," she added.

This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Central MN Arts Board thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.

Check out this Monticello Times article about the install, ‘The Gathering’ brings beauty of sculpture, community to Monticello’s East Bridge Park. Watch MontiArts' video of the installation on YouTube! View more photos from the installation on our Facebook page, or in our Photo Gallery.

Nov 17

Bertram Chain of Lakes Call for Art Proposals

Posted on November 17, 2021 at 11:28 AM by Haley Foster

Are you a concrete artist interested in a project at the Bertram Chain of Lakes beach in Wright County, near Monticello?  Log Art Proposal2

The Bertram Chain of Lakes Advisory Council is looking for someone who can make the concrete culvert near the beach (that kids can crawl through) transformed to look like a log from a tree!

The culvert is about 25 feet long and 48 inches in diameter. The budget for this project is $2,000 and includes all materials and your time. The project would need to be completed on site in spring or early summer 2022. The council is imagining a three-dimensional quality, tree-bark-like surface on the outside of the culvert. In addition to the added texture, they would also like the whole culvert is painted on the outside. 

Please submit your proposal idea(s) to Marc Mattice and Lynn C. Anderson by Wednesday, Dec. 1, 2021. Please include pictures and descriptions of a few previous projects you have created.Log Art Proposal1