New sculptures installed for Art Walk Albert Lea

Nov. 14—Five new sculptures from mostly local artists were installed last week between the Albert Lea Public Library and Dress Island around Fountain Lake as part of the Art Walk Albert Lea initiative.

With the addition, there are now seven pieces in the Sculpture Walk after the first two pieces were installed this summer — one at the top of Fountain Lake Park and another at Edgewater Park.

Shane Koepke, one of the Sculpture Walk organizers, said he hopes the sculptures enlighten people's experience around the lake, whether walking or driving.

"It's a really popular walk and drive," Koepke said. "It's all in making our community more beautiful and being able to have something interesting as we go about our days."

He said good art inspires people to think through things — no matter their opinions about the art — and sparks conversation.

The sculptures are a combination of art made from found objects and inspiration from the world. The new sculptures include a dragon reading a book across from the library, a pair of roadrunners at the end of Grace Street and Lakeview, a snail at Dress Island and an armored horse head on Broadway outside the Albert Lea Art Center. The roadrunners are made to spin with the wind, while all others do not move.

Near the splash pad is a crane designed and created by Toby Holtz, a student at Riverland Community College from Austin.

Holtz, along with instructor Matt Bera and his welding classmates, donated their time and classroom to weld the sculptures to the mounting bases.

"This cooperation is a key part to making public art happen in our community," the organization stated.

Koepke said it is the goal of the organizers to have three more pieces installed in the coming months — one at New Denmark Park, one near Hatch Bridge and another at the Brookside Boathouse — for a total of 10 pieces of art in place in 2024. The artists are hard at work making their pieces.

The pieces will be on display for between 18 and 24 months before they are rotated out and new art is put in. Information about each piece and the artist will be posted online and at each site.

In addition to the sculptures, Koepke said there are plans in the works for murals in downtown Albert Lea, as well as at a few warming houses.