Artists selected for Bde Maka Ska public art project

Posted on May 25, 2017

bde maka ska graphic

The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board and the City of Minneapolis’ Art in Public Places program are collaborating on a public art project in conjunction with construction improvements for Bde Maka Ska. The project focuses on creating a gathering space and public art to honor Mahpiya Wicasta/Cloud Man and reveal and celebrate the history of Heyata Otunwe, a village located on Bde Maka Ska from 1829-1839. The theme of the design is “Story Awakening” with an intention to honor and educate visitors about the broader history and culture of the Dakota and other Indigenous peoples who frequented and resided in this area over time.

The project was selected by a panel comprised of community members, arts and architecture professionals and the project’s design team. This group reviewed 16 applications and selected artists to work together on the project:

  • Angela Two Stars – Descendant of Cloud Man (Mahpiya Wicasta), member of Sisseton Wahpeton Sioux Tribe, born and raised on the Lake Traverse reservation of Sisseton, SD. Currently lives in East Lansing, MI. Graduate of Kendall College of Art and Design in Grand Rapids, MI with a BFA in Drawing and Printmaking.
  • Mona Smith – Visual and multimedia artist of Dakota heritage. Currently lives in Minneapolis. Artist lead and co-founder of Healing Place Collaborative, Owner of Allies: Media/Art, past program coordinator for the National Indian AIDS Media Consortium, and creator of the Bdote Memory Map.
  • Sandy Spieler – Visual artist. Currently lives in Minneapolis. Founder and director of the annual May Day Parade and Ceremony at Powderhorn Park, 30-year advocate for issues pertaining to water, and recipient of a Bush Foundation Leadership Fellowship.

This group of artists is working with the project design team on concepts which will be shared with the public in fall 2017. This design team includes:

  • Descendants of Mahpiya Wicasta (Cloud Man), a Dakota man who lead Heyata Otunwa (Village to the Side), a village on the shores of Bde Maka Ska (Lake Calhoun) in the 1830s
  • Dakota advisors and educators
  • Minneapolis Art in Public Places staff members
  • Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board staff members

In addition, the design team has collaborated with Ron Melchert, landscape architect and lead planner for Oneida nation, and Rich Harrison, landscape architect with Metro Blooms. The team also received input from several community groups including the Metropolitan Urban Indian Directors and the Phillips Indian Educators, and held two open houses at Minneapolis American Indian Center.

For over 30 years, the City of Minneapolis Art in Public Places program has enriched the lives of citizens and visitors by integrating public art into city planning, services, design and infrastructure by funding the Art in Public Places Program. Bde Maka Ska was selected for support through Art in Public Places in 2016 by the City’s Public Art Advisory Panel. For more information about this public art project, contact Ann Godfrey