10 Local Artists Announced for
River Balcony Prototyping Festival
Installations will capture the imagination of
what the Saint Paul River Balcony can be
SAINT PAUL – Artistic installations from 10 local artists will soon bring a proposed river walkway to life, as part of a River Balcony Prototyping Festival hosted by Saint Paul Riverfront Corporation on September 10. The winners were announced at a community meeting on April 28, where residents learned about master plans for the River Balcony, a 1.5-mile elevated pedestrian walkway along the Mississippi River in Saint Paul that will extend from the Science Museum of Minnesota to the Union Depot.
“With the River Balcony, we’re aiming to connect our growing downtown community to the amazing natural asset that lives right in our backyard – the Mississippi River,” said Mayor Chris Coleman. “As people continue to crave vibrant and walkable communities, it is projects like this that make Saint Paul a destination for people to live, work and play.”
This September, Saint Paul Riverfront Corporation will host 11 installations from 10 local artists to demonstrate the types of activities that the River Balcony could support. The projects range from a 60-foot-long, three-dimensional diagram of the Mississippi River to a river of Dakhota words running along the River Balcony that tell the story of Native Americans and their relationship to the Mississippi River.
“Saint Paul thrives when we bring together bright minds to envision what a bold, creative idea like the River Balcony can do for our community. The Prototyping Festival will help bring the River Balcony to life, if it’s only a preview,” said Tracey Kinney, Assistant Director of Urban Design at Saint Paul Riverfront Corporation. “The ideas generated through the Prototyping Festival will help inform future visioning for the project.”
The installations will be located throughout the River Balcony, from the Union Depot to the Science Museum of Minnesota. Art projects include:
• Water Source by Patrick McKennan
• EcoDistrict Commission by Alyssa Baguss and Aaron Dysart
• Dakhota Wordscapes on the River by Public Art Saint Paul
• River Song by Trygve Nordberg
• Mark-It by Emily Stover
• River Soundings by Suzanne Kosmalski
• River of Birds by Kimley-Horn Landscape Architecture: Jenny Krantz, Katie Leise, Mitch Workmon, and Jacob Oswald
• Water Bar | Healing Place by Works Progress Studio
• Portals by Ramsey County Historical Society
• River Rock by Gary Johnson
• Wrapped in Anticipation by Kimley-Horn Landscape Architecture: Jenny Krantz, Katie Leise, Mitch Workmon, and Jacob Oswald
A map of the Prototyping Festival is available here. The Prototyping Festival is supported by the Knight Green Line Challenge, an initiative of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.
River Balcony master plan to be released in mid-May
City officials also shared information about the Saint Paul River Balcony during the community meeting. In mid-May, the city will release the final draft of the Saint Paul River Balcony master plan, which will guide the design of the riverfront promenade along Saint Paul’s downtown bluffs. The master plan will include the recommended alignment of the walkway, design guidelines, and general principles that will serve as the framework for the future development of the River Balcony.
First envisioned in Saint Paul’s 2013 Great River Passage Plan, the River Balcony will create vibrant open spaces above the river; provide new visual and physical connections between downtown and the Mississippi River; and accommodate walking, outdoor seating, gathering, and public activities. The Great River Passage is the City’s grand vision to better connect people to Saint Paul’s 26 miles of Mississippi River shoreline.
Public-private partnership to drive implementation
The River Balcony project will be implemented in phases over many years as public and private funding sources are realized. The first segment of the River Balcony is likely to occur along Custom House, a 17-story luxury apartment, hotel and restaurant development on Kellogg Boulevard.
At the community meeting, Custom House and BKV Group architects shared three options for the schematic design of Phase I of the River Balcony (Robert Street to the Union Depot). The more detailed engineering documents will guide the future construction of the segment. The final design of Phase I is expected to be completed by the end of 2016.
“The River Balcony is a valuable asset to Custom House as we market our property to residents, visitors, and commercial tenants,” said James Stolpestad, the Chairman of Exeter Group LLC, the developer of the Custom House project. “We are thrilled to be a part of this transformational project for Saint Paul.”
Department of Planning & Economic Development
City of Saint Paul
651-266-6575 (office); 651-387-9045 (cell)