Bucket list: Walk through the sculpture gardenThe prestige of Red Wing’s Anderson Center already brings in guests from all over the country — and world — but what some may not know as they drive up to the building is that there’s a whole collection of artwork to be seen out back, stretching for 15 acres.
By: Regan Carstensen, The Republican Eagle
What used to be just an average corn field was eventually turned into the largest sculpture garden in southeastern Minnesota, making it a must-see for people visiting and living in the area.
The prestige of Red Wing’s Anderson Center already brings in guests from all over the country — and world — but what some may not know as they drive up to the building is that there’s a whole collection of artwork to be seen out back, stretching for 15 acres.
“It’s essentially an open-air gallery,” Anderson Center Director Robert Hedin said of the local sculpture garden. “There are very, very few centers in the state that can boast of so many sculptures that are open to the public.”
Thirty sculptures fill the garden, which was originally developed in 1996 with help from the Red Wing Environmental Learning Center and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. A majority of the works of art were donated to the Anderson Center, while some are on long-term loan and others were purchased.
Made from wood, steel, cement, bronze, ceramic and more, the sculptures bring man-made elements into the park and pique visitors’ curiosity with their mysterious designs. While some are straightforward, like a turtle created in 2007, others are much more abstract.
In the same way that the pieces are diverse, their creators are as well. Sculptors range from Red Wing High School students to Anderson Center studio artists to those from across the globe.
“Some of the sculptors are both nationally and internationally known,” Hedin said, referencing Charles Biederman, Siah Armajani and Zoran Mojsilov.
The garden is full of sculptures — hence its name — but a person doesn’t necessarily have to be crazy about art to enjoy a leisurely stroll through it. A general nature enthusiast will find plenty of things to engage their interests, including the variety of trees scattered across the 15-acre park.
From white oak and black walnut to red oak and hickory, each variety is recognizable by simple stone markers near the trees that list common and scientific names in addition to showing the look of the leaves.
“So it’s not only the sculpture garden, but it’s also a nature walk,” Hedin said.
Though some are still small, many of the trees provide a bit of shade, helping visitors escape from the hot sun as they take in the sights. Benches are also scattered throughout, giving people an opportunity to sit and relax in the park as they observe not only the sights, but the sounds as well.
Although the Anderson Center sits along Highway 61, visitors are likely to tune out the faint sound of traffic from the road as they focus on the chirps of birds who call the area home. While their simple songs add accompaniment to a person’s nature walk, the birds also help create a serene and peaceful setting.
So whether people go for the art, atmosphere or all-around environment, Hedin said the sculpture garden has something for everyone.
“It’s almost impossible not to be out there and fall in love with something.”