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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.