Public art arrives on Nicollet

Credit: Installation of new public art is underway on Nicollet Avenue between Lake and 40th. Photo by Michelle Bruch

Public art is multiplying along 10 blocks of Nicollet Avenue. The artwork is part of the budget for the reconstruction of Nicollet, which was completed in 2013.

Artists Marjorie Pitz and Ben Janssens developed the bird theme years ago with the help of community members. They built a theme around birds of different feathers flocking together.

“The neighborhood wanted to welcome all the different cultural diversity that exists in this area,” Pitz said.

Flamingos are native to Somalia, she said, and roosters belong to every culture in the world.

“We thought birds would be something everybody could relate to,” she said.

The first piece was installed a year ago on 40th Street outside Ellwood Automotive. Birdlike stools (it’s okay to sit on them) arrived in December at Butter Bakery Café and Casa de Corazón. Birds also arrived early this year outside Hooyo Child Care Center on 36th, and more benches are slated for installation in front of the Lyndale Community Center on 35th, Valerie’s Carniceria on 32nd, and the Metro Transit garage between 31st and 32nd.

All of the remaining artwork is slated for installation this spring. A forthcoming mosaic tile project may add extra color to the bird wings.

Janssens fabricated the pieces at his Northeast studio SignMinds.