Best of

the Twin Cities

Best Public Art

Urban Flower Field (Amanda Lovelee)

There's a lot more to this project than simply a vibrant, nautilus-like design on a wall, paths curving into a similar pattern between flower beds, and some big red chairs. In creating the Urban Flower Field in Pedro Park near Lowertown in St. Paul, Amanda Lovelee designed an outdoor living room for the neighborhood and its visitors. On summer nights, residents can be seen enjoying takeout from nearby restaurants, a glass of wine brought down from their apartment across the street, or just each other's company. But this public art project is also a science project. University of St. Thomas researchers regularly test the 96 biodiverse flower plots to see whether the flora is extracting toxic substances from the urban soil. And the plots are actually arranged in a shape representing the golden mean, which in philosophy designates balance or the desirable middle between excess and deficiency. Lovelee, Public Art St. Paul's artist-in-residence, didn't do it alone. The creative team includes Adam Kay, director of environmental science, University of St. Thomas; muralists Ed Charbonneau and Jeremy Szopinski; Don Ganje and Bianca Paz of St. Paul Parks and Recreation; and agroecologist Paula Westmoreland of Ecological Design.

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