Public sculpture has always been a source of civic pride and identity throughout Saint Paul and across the United States. From the late 19th century, beautiful works by the great artists of our time were commissioned for public places. As sculptures were dedicated as gifts to cities and states, little attention was paid to a long-term view of maintaining sculpture condition and, over time, weather, pollution, vandalism and neglect have taken a toll on Saint Paul’s historic sculptures.
Since 1994, Public Art Saint Paul has led the effort to clean, restore and celebrate Saint Paul’s cultural treasures, including four of the city’s most significant sculptures installed in a series of small parks on upper Summit Avenue. Public Art Saint Paul began its stewardship efforts as the Twin Cities and Minnesota leader of the national Save Outdoor Sculpture (SOS) program, an initiative of the Smithsonian Institution that involved an inventory and basic condition assessment of works throughout the U.S. Cultural historian Tom Zahn was engaged to manage this effort and has remained an advisor to the Public Art Saint Paul stewardship program ever since.
Following the SOS initiative, Public Art Saint Paul set out to restore the most historically significant works in the city’s collection: Nathan Hale, The Indian Hunter and His Dog, and the New York Life Eagle (all at the head of historic Summit Avenue) and sculptures of literary giants Henrick Ibsen and Schiller in Como Park. Public Art Saint Paul has subsequently underwritten and provided regular professional maintenance for these and dozens of Saint Paul sculptures. In 2017, we will restore the Civil War (“Soldiers and Sailors”) Memorial.
Read the story of the historic Sculptures of Summit Avenue.
Kristin Cheronis, Conservator
Christine Podas-Larson, Executive Producer of Restorations
Nic Cherry and Mary Johnson, Restoration production manager and stewardship coordinator
Mason Riddle and Colin Nelson-Dusek, art historians
Public Art Saint Paul
Saint Paul Parks and Recreation
Como Park Zoo and Conservatory
Ramsey County Historical Society
Ramsey Hill Association
University Club of St. Paul
General Consulate of the Federal Republic of Germany
The Minnesota Chorale
The University of Minnesota
Twin Cities German Immersion School
Minneapolis Institute of Arts
Save Outdoor Sculpture (“SOS!”)
New York Life Foundation
The Saint Paul Foundation
F.R. Bigelow Foundation
Daughters of the American Revolution
Yale Alumni Association
National Endowment for the Arts – Art Works
State of Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund through the Minnesota Historical Society
Robert Muschewske and Leaetta Hough
The William and Nancy Podas aRt&D Fund