Role of public art discussed

Elk River Parks and Recreation staff, along with their planning consultant, Hoisington Koegler Group Inc., met Monday, May 5, with area artists and stakeholders to discuss the role of public art in the community.

The meeting resulted in identifying goals, strategies, themes, potential locations and partnership opportunities.

Representatives from the Elk River Area Arts Alliance, Minnesota State Arts Board, the Elk River Area School District, Northern Star Family Theater, Elk River Community Theater, Command Performance Choir, and Regional Arts Council-CMAB participated in the meeting with local artists to develop potential direction for the city’s new Parks Master Plan.

Conversations covered ways to engage the community in the process to further define the community image as a destination city with enhanced economic benefits. They recommended further engagement with the business community to demonstrate the economic benefits resulting from a “sense of place” that enhances the draw to Elk River through public art.

Attendees indicated that the community would benefit from further expression of local culture, history and artists by combining historical and cultural references into new infrastructure projects, such as wayfinding, sidewalks and benches.

A number of priority locations were identified to get art in the eyes of the public, including civic buildings, the Great Northern Trail and gateway entrances into the city.

An open house will be held 3-8 p.m. June 25 at City Hall to review feedback from each of the five focus group sessions, including the public art planning session. The event is an opportunity for the public to comment on information compiled for the Parks and Recreation Master Plan.