6/7/2012 11:01:00 AM Public art unveiled for highway, library sites
Erik Norelius accompanied Per Andersson and 100 or so others aboard a ship from assela Parish in Sweden, to America in 1850. He was 17 at that time. Norelius was preaching in the Center City-Chisago Lakes area by the summer of 1854 and according to the Lindstrom centennial book, published in 1994, he was a founder of Gustavus Adolphus College in 1862. Daniel Lindstrom was a half-brother to Per Andersson but did not come to America with Andersson, but arrived about three years later. He obtained legal rights to 130 acres, where he made his homestead and lived for 25 years. This general site would become the City of Lindstrom, when citizens voted in 1894 to incorporate as a village. Andersson led settlers here who he’d met during what historians say was a brief time spent with an “ill fated” relgious settlement in Illinois.
by DENISE MARTIN
Karl Oskar and his wife Kristina are going to have some company soon anchoring the west end of the new one-way pairs in downtown Lindstrom. The fictional immigrant couple (from a retired parade float) will be flanked with a new “plaza” inhabited by a trio of founding fathers in cast bronze, as envisioned by sculptor Ian Dudley. Lindstrom Park Board members approved the plan at their May 7 meeting and the city council agreed. Daniel Lindstrom, Per Andersson and Erik Norelius were chosen as the sculpture subjects because of their important contributions to the settling of Minnesota and in establishing the population centers of the Chisago Lakes region.
Dudley explained that when doing research a few years ago for his Moberg-with-bike installation in Chisago City, he heard from historians at Gustavus College how significant these three men were. As leaders of contingents of immigrants and then as organizers and figureheads here, they stood out, Dudley was told. He located a mural while on a trip to Sweden, that had an image of Norelius in a grouping of historic figures and he said this was really valuable as a full length depiction.
He also has old photos to refer to, meets with family members and relatives of his subjects whenever possible and tries to locate in museums the actual items that would have been worn or carried by his sculpture subjects. He was told Norelius would have had a walking stick and knapsack with books in it, Andersson was a woodsman/hunter so he will hold a rifle and Daniel Lindstrom will carry a string of fish. The female aspect of history here will be represented artistically as well. Dudley is also creating a sculpture of midwife Nellie Gustafson, a revered local figure around the turn of the century. She’ll be riding in a buggy, also of cast bronze components, which is going to stand near the Chisago Lakes Library. Dudley was struck while doing research for Nellie when he was shown an actual midwifery bag owned by the historical society. On bottles were Swedish words he didn’t understand, but while touring a region of Sweden Dudley realized the labels were names of towns there. When he creates a piece he said he’s shooting for life-size, plus about 20 percent.
(The unfinished buggy wheels in his workshop are six feet across. Nellie will then rise about eight or nine feet above the buggy base.) Dudley has been responsible for a dozen public sculpture installations; so he understands a community’s goal that artwork be detailed and accurate, sturdy enough for the elements and appropriate for their place. He already has a portion of Nellie’s buggy assembled inside of his workshop in Chisago Lake Township, this is a separate project begun months ago working with the East Central Regional Library system and Legacy Ammendment funds. Dudley explains that he’s looking forward to bringing all four pieces to life simultaneously because then the feel of the sculptures will have continuity.
He tries to put into words his creative process and frame of mind depending on what it is he’s sculpting at that time. The approach and the end product revolve around what he wants the pieces to represent. There is a lot of research put into the historic sculptures, to depict the garments, the hats and accessories as they would be 250 years ago. And at the same time, the sculptures have to speak to the people in today’s aesthetic terms. The feel of the works will benefit by them coming together almost as one process, he concluded. Making it happen The city’s goal is to celebrate installation and hold a dedication as soon as the one-way pairs project is complete, including landscaping. The schedule calls for June-July 2013.
Lindstrom has $80,000 dedicated to this special trio project in its Highway 8 Financial Plan. Council heard that $10,000 in pledges are sought for a total of $90,000, and many citizens have already offered to contribute. The city will deposit donations into a sculpture account. If you’d like to contribute make checks out to the City of Lindstrom and put ‘sculpture fund’ in the memo line. Lindstrom City Hall mailing address is 13292 Sylvan Ave. Lindstrom, MN 55045. The Nellie Gustafson project is made possible with East Central Regional Library Grant Funding from the Minnesota Legacy Amendment, that was approved in 2008 by voters dedicating a portion of sales tax to natural resources and art endeavors.