They’re bright and whimsical, somber and reflective, imposing and hard to find; Eden Prairie’s public artworks are scattered throughout the city in a variety of forms, from sculptures and memorials to murals.
The rotating art series, which is run by the Eden Prairie Art Center and funded by the National Endowment for the Arts, began in 2018 and is entering its third call for submissions in February. The pieces will be selected by a committee of city staff, members of the Parks and Recreation Commission and local artists, and will be on display from May 2020 to May 2021, said Jes Schrom, the Art Center supervisor.
When selecting public artworks, it’s important to pick pieces that can withstand Minnesota’s extreme weather, from heat and humidity in the summer to ice and snow in the winter, Schrom noted. If there are maintenance issues with an artwork, the closest responsible city staff − a staff member at the Community Center who notices an issue with a sculpture there, for example − alerts Schrom to the issue, and Art Center employees and Parks Maintenance employees help fix it.
Schrom’s favorite artwork at the moment is a brightly painted tunnel underneath Flying Cloud Drive near Charlson Road that leads to the Minnesota River Vista Overlook. It’s a mural by artist Jenna Myrland and high school students from the Performing Arts Institute of Minnesota. It serves a purpose beyond beautification, she explained.
“I also love solving problems with art and this tunnel is a new entrance to the outlook and the mural makes it more inviting and engaging,” she said.