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Boreal Community Media

Cook County Historical Society and Johnson Heritage Post select artist for the Site-Specific Public Art Project

Nov 17, 2023 02:32PM ● By Editor
Image provided:  Workers Memorial, 2015, Tile Mural (tile details), (Roughly 7’h x 45’w). Located on Minnesota State Capital Grounds near Cedar Street and Columbus Avenue. Tile detail.

From Cook County Historical Society - November 15, 2023

Cook County Historical Society (CCHS) and the Johnson Heritage Post (JHP), through the generous support from the Lloyd K. Johnson Foundation, are thrilled to announce MN artist Sam Gathje as the selection for the Site-Specific Public Art Project. 

Through artwork, the Johnson Heritage Post aims to celebrate local members and visitors of the Cook County community, and the cultural heritage of the region. Through this Public Art Project, we aim to commission a public art piece that reflects artistic and technical qualities, and fosters a welcoming and uplifting environment. 

Gathje specializes in stone and woodwork. He has created pieces such as Prairie Réseau, two stone monoliths roughly 9’h x 4’w, weighing 5000 pounds each in St. Louis Park, MN. He also co-created the Minnesota Workers Memorial, a 45-foot long mural made up of hand-cut tile mosaic, that sits in front of the Minnesota State Capitol. 

He has extensive experience in teaching, including multiple stints at North House Folk School in Grand Marais. 

A panel made up of community members, CCHS board members and staff will work with Gathje on a final design for the project, including the medium. The finished piece will be placed at the main plaza entrance of JHP, and will create a pint of interest focal point for visitors of the gallery, as well as those passing by. 

“I believe that public art has the power to transport us. Through collaboration, community engagement, and intentional placement of sculptural forms, public art has the power to activate the mind, the body, and the spirit,” he said.

The project is expected to be complete by the end of summer 2024. 

To learn more about Sam Gathje, visit his website here. 

To learn more about the Johnson Heritage Post Art Gallery, click here. 

 Prairie Réseau 2021, Sandblasted Details of flora and fauna

The mission of the Johnson Heritage Post is to promote public awareness of the culture of arts in Cook County, MN, communicate the history of this region, and provide quality exhibits, programs, and events.

Boreal Ship Spotter - larger view here