In Focus: Bemidji Sculpture Walk Celebrating 20 Years
“20 years ago there were a lot more clothes stores. There just wasn’t the vibrancy that you see today, and we kind of believe part of that is—you can’t necessarily compete, price wise, with the big boxes but you can sure keep your historical downtowns interesting with specialty stores and art,” says Cate Belleveau, the creator of the Bemidji Sculpture Walk.
Tall and small, wood or metal: the Bemidji Sculpture Walk has seen dozens of creative pieces come and go over the past few decades. For their 20th anniversary, fans will see work by some new artists, as well as a few familiar creators.
“Jeremy Hughes, the nephew, and John Hughes, his uncle, created this and it’s so great because it’s right where you cross from Paul and Babe to celebrate our 20 years,” says Bellaveau while pointing to one of the sculptures.
There are around 12 to 13 new sculptures on the walk this summer. Usually there’s a few more, but the team decided to downsize so there could be more permanent pieces.
“I hope people will stop by on the corner of Second and Beltrami and there’s a fish and sure enough ,that was created as a welding practice for students from Pequot [Lakes] High Schools,” says Belleveau.
Each artist was also given a slightly bigger stipend this year, so they could really let their imagination run wild.
Belleveau says of one statue, created by artist Russell Lund, “Beautiful, colorful pieces of wood that he carved out and then he’s protected them in a big metal, kind of geodesic dome. Colorful, interactive, he wants you to touch it! He wants you to put your hand in it and move it around on a pivot.”
The Bemidji Sculpture Walk was made for easy access. That means it doesn’t matter if you’re young, old, or even in a wheelchair – everyone can enjoy it. Easy access was one of the main points of the walk. The creators wanted to get the sculptures out of the gallery so that way more people feel comfortable viewing the art.
“Anyone can come and enjoy the sculptures and everyone can have conversations on whether they like something or don’t like something. Why? What reaction does it cause? That’s what art is supposed to do,” says Belleveau.
The new sculptures will be around downtown Bemidji until May 2020. To celebrate 20 years of sculptures, everyone is invited to a block party on June 22nd. It will be held in downtown Bemidji and starts at 4 in the afternoon.