Mining Blue Sky
An entry for the Bemidji Sculpture Walk. It is a tribute to the machines and structures of Minnesota's Iron Range.
The Bemidji Sculpture Walk is an annual installation of public art by Minnesota Artists. All sculptures are intended to be installed outdoors in downtown Bemidji.
Bemidji, MN lies on the western edge of an area in Northern/Eastern Minnesota known as the Iron Range. There is no formal boundary of this area but it is generally considered to lie in the area in red shown in the map below.
Prior to the 19th century, the area that would become the Iron Range was inhabited mainly by Native American groups. The area was the site of intensive logging operations during the 19th century.
The history of mining on the Iron Range began in the late 19th century following a report that there were deposits of gold on the shores of Lake Vermilion. Although miners never found commercially valuable amounts of gold in the region, the reports led to an increase in the region's population. Iron ore was first discovered in the northern Vermilion iron range, where underground mines developed to remove the valuable ore.
The discovery of hematite on the large Mesabi range cemented the area's position as the foremost source for iron ore throughout the early 20th century. Iron mining operations on the Mesabi range took place in enormous open pit mines where steam shovels and other industrial machines could remove massive amounts of ore. Amid worries that the rich hematite ore would give out, mining operations turned to low grade taconite as a source of iron ore in the second half of the 20th century.
This piece is designed as a tribute to the machines and structures that contributed to the Iron Range as a significant provider of resources not just for North America but for the world. I tried to capture the abstract shapes of draglines, conveyors, and other structures that could be seen throughout the region.
Now with vehicles such as Kickstarter and other crowd-sourcing avenues, I feel that there are more chances of making this dream a reality.
The construction of Mining Blue Sky is modular in order to facilitate fabrication and assembly.
Each curved section fits on one 4' x 8' sheet of 1/4" steel. The piece will be assembled on-site and will not require any additional fabrication such as welding.
Risks and challenges
The biggest challenge for this work is the timeframe. It is very short! My work was only recently selected and needs to be delivered to the site by May 17th. Once on site, we hope to have no major issues. There is concern that, being in a public place, access to the piece could result in vandalism or other issues.
In these events, we will make sure that the piece is maintained to original condition.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)