New Public Art in Saint Anthony Park
In a digital era when most messaging has gone online, a local sculpture artist had a vision to revitalize the time-tested practice of community message boards by re-imagining them as public art space. Public Art Saint Paul recently played a curatorial role in the Langstroth Kiosk project, a sculptural form and information kiosk, by local sculpture artist, Brad Kaspari. The beautiful and unusual public art piece, inspired by apiaries (where beehives of honeybees are kept), sits on the corner of Como and Carter in the St. Anthony Park neighborhood in St. Paul. Not only does the structure have a space for community messaging, but it has a small bench for watching the world pass by. The piece was fabricated entirely by Kaspari, who runs his own design and fabrication firm called Kaspari Design Services, Inc. Check out coverage of the Langstroth Kiosk in a recent article on community message boards by Bill Lindeke of MinnPost.
A statement from PASP City Artist & St. Paul Streets Public Art Program Curator, Aaron Dysart, on his role in the project:
“I want to first say that the artist himself, Brad Kaspari, deserves all of the praise here. Through my work in the City’s Streets Public Art Program, I play a role as curator, helping make sure artists we work with on projects have what they need to bring their visions to life. After Brad was contracted for this project, my first task was to hear and understand his vision, in order to connect him with contacts and resources to help bring his ideas to fruition. Because the structure was intended to function as a message board, it was important to get the logistics squared away, like who would be responsible for managing the postings and so forth. I facilitated a meeting between Brad and St. Anthony Park District Council to get those details figured out, and even more importantly, to ensure community was involved in the project. Brad then worked with the council to send out a community survey and met with various stakeholders, as he developed his concept, which likened the sharing of community information to the function of bees and pollination.
We also met with folks to develop an idea about a rotating tiny gallery space in the piece as well, but this turned out to be too difficult to ensure into the lifespan of the work. As Brad worked through all of this, I met with various city staff in Public Works to make sure things were up to code and everyone was comfortable with the concept, especially because it does have this ongoing aspect of a community bulletin board to it, which needs continual tending.
After Brad fabricated his beautiful piece, I helped him get some of his tools and materials to the site and worked as crowd control to ensure passersby were safe while he and his team installed the work.” Aaron Dysart, City Artist
Congratulations to Brad and to the Saint Anthony Park community! We encourage you to visit the piece to enjoy it in person. Stop in at Finnish Bakery and the other small businesses to make it a full excursion!