It’s summertime, and therefore, peak public art touring season across the United States. For the current installment of our ongoing series, The 50 States of Public Art, we visit Mankato, Minnesota, which has launched its ninth annual CityArt Walking Sculpture Tour.
The CityArt Walking Sculpture Tour in Mankato, Minnesota
Public Art Program: CityArt Walking Sculpture Tour
Every year, the Mankato and North Mankato city center play host to a different set of freestanding sculptures. This year, the CityArt Walking Sculpture Tour boasts 26 separate metal sculptures, most by local artists, and all of which are for sale. Residents and tourists are invited to view the works and vote for their favorites in the annual CityArt People’s Choice competition. The winning sculpture may be purchased by CityArt for permanent installation.
Want to see CityArt Walking Sculpture Tour for yourself?
Seven of this year’s pieces, along with the 2015 People’s Choice Award Winner (Godzilla by Dale Lewis) are located along Belgrade Ave between Range and Nicollet Streets in North Mankato City Center. The remaining pieces on exhibit are scattered throughout Mankato City Center (here’s a map).
Want to go, but need help selling it to your kids?
Pair it with a trip to Songs on the Lawn 2019
If you are planning to go on a weekday, consider making that weekday a Thursday in June. Every Thursday in June, the Mankato City Center plays host to Songs on the Lawn. From 11 a.m. – 1 p.m., a variety of music, entertainment, and food is available at the Civic Center off S. Riverfront Drive. The Civic Center Plaza is smack in the middle of the CityArt Sculpture Walk area in Mankato, so the two events would pair well for families in the area. Admission to Songs on the Lawn is free and you can find free parking at Cherry Street.
Tack the public art on to a trip to the park
Folks looking to entice their children into a visit on the weekends might want to consider pairing the CityArt walk with a visit to Sibley Park, rated one of the coolest playgrounds in the state by NewsCastic in 2015, or Riverfront Park, which connects to the Minnesota River Trail.
Remind your kids that they can vote for their favorite
Your kids may love the idea of voting for their favorite sculpture in the People’s Choice Award. This fact might be helpful in convincing them to see more than one.
Don’t try to see everything all in one trip
I would be astounded if any child had the stamina to see all 26 works in one walk (although if yours does, I definitely want to hear all about it). Fortunately, the sculptures will be in place for the next several months, so you start with just a few of the ones your children would be most interested in, and save the rest for later.
Want more tips for viewing public art with children?
What’s That, Mom? provides 15 accessible, practical strategies for using public art to spark conversations with children between the ages of 3 and 10 — no artistic talent or insight required. What’s That, Mom? is available at Bookshop.org and Amazon. There’s even a journal to go with it so that your kids can sketch their favorite works of art and you can record your favorite moments from your outing.
NOTE: The above paragraph contains affiliate links to Bookshop.org, an online bookstore that provides financial support to local, independent bookstores. At the time I wrote this post, Bookshop.org had already raised $12.8m for local bookstores. If you use the link in the previous paragraph to purchase my book on Bookshop.org, I’ll earn a commission on your book purchase, as will your preferred independent bookshop. You can also find my book in the new Caterpickles Bookstore. Regardless of whether you use my links or visit the Caterpickles Bookstore, thank you for spending part of your day reading Caterpickles. Learn more about Affiliate Links, the Caterpickles Bookstore, and why I decided to become a Bookshop.org Affiliate.
Happy public art hunting!
- Map of the CityArt Walking Sculpture Tour (CityArt Mankato)
- CityArt Walking Sculpture Tour Photo Gallery (CityArt Mankato)
- CityArt Walking Sculpture Tour kicks off (Mankato Free Press)
- Family-Friendly Adventures in Mankato (Visit Greater Mankato)
- A compendium of posts on the The Dedham Public Art Project, the public art project that originally inspired my book on using public art to spark conversations with your children, What’s That, Mom? (Caterpickles)
- More Caterpickles posts on public art installations around the country