Best Public Art - 2009
The Grain Belt Beer sign
Looming over the city like a beacon from a Bruce Springsteen song, the Grain Belt Beer sign reminds everyone of a Minneapolis—and Minnesota—that sometimes feels long gone. It tells of a story of hard-working mill employees who would spend their weekends fishing and drinking this longstanding regional brew. Grain Belt Beer first appeared in 1893 and continued to brew in the city until 1976. Through the years, the population and tastes have changed, but the sign is a reminder. It's a nostalgic example of old-style advertising (the sign has been around since before World War II) that has become "public art" in a roundabout way—crafted as something functional, it has become an icon by standing the test of time.