Archived Story

FF City Council wants art piece for roundabout

Published 11:25am Tuesday, March 19, 2013

The city and Fergus Falls Public Arts Commission are calling all artists as they look to make a permanent piece of original art in the center of the roundabout a reality.

The city council Monday approved the solicitation for artists.

The new roundabout, considered one of the seven gateways to the community, is located at the intersection of Tower Road and Alcott Avenue. The city would like the art piece to be timeless, reflecting the city today but also lasting 50 or more years. Through a piece of public art, the Public Arts Commission wants to convey community, history, links to geologic and transportation features, and family related to Fergus Falls.

The commission has set up some of the parameters for the project, but it’s also looking for variety.

“We’re open,” said Gretchen Boyum, Public Arts Commission member, at last week’s Public Works and Safety Committee meeting. After proposed projects start rolling in from artists, commission members will “pick what we think would be appropriate for this space,” she said.

However, council member Randy Synstelien wanted to add something to the proposal regarding a POW/MIA theme, which is already present with the Tower Road Bridge. That was added as part of the motion, though it is just an option. The art is not required to have that theme.

Some parameter categories include the following: Materials, lighting, landscape, setting and structure or design. It’s important to the committee that the art be easily viewed from every direction and compatible in scale to its surroundings. The city does not want a water feature, either as the primary structure or as an accent. The piece would be considered a landmark and a reflection of the community; therefore, it should be non-controversial or political in nature.

Funding for the project is still being established. The design would need approval from the city and Otter Tail County to ensure compliance with visibility and safety guidelines.

Interested artists would need to apply by Aug. 5.

  • P. Carlson

    Roundabouts are a cause of accidents for those who are unfamiliar with them. Fergus Falls is a tourist city where hundreds of people are there briefly and can not afford to have their concentration distracted trying to observe artwork while maneuvering the roundabout. If the artwork causes an accident, (and it will), can the victims sue the city council as individuals or the city itself?

    • kninepal

      Ha! Fergus a tourist city.. Oh that’s a good one Pam.

    • Steph

      I was curious to know if roundabouts cause accidents. So I quickly googled roundabout accidents vs. regular intersection accidents. According to one study I found, roundabouts reduce the number of accidents with injuries by 80% and the total number of accidents by 40%. The other studies I read about were pretty similar with their statistics. I was pretty sure that would be the case, but, there ya have it. I think roundabouts are great; more efficient, no left-hand turns against traffic, and they’re fun! Wheeeee!

  • Frizzel

    How about artwork of a turn signal? It would be representative of the past in the forward looking face of the roundabout. Think of the fun; a turn signal being held by a statue of a famous city politician (or otter) that would randomly change colors and not in order. Red, green, yellow, green, etc… Talk about entertainment. As an added bonus, put arrows pointing the reverse direction but flashing only in red to keep the inattentive from going that way. Roundabouts are easy to maneuver, they are here, get used to them

  • Steph

    “And you kids get off my lawn, too!”

  • Jake Krohn

    Frizzel is on to something. We as a city seem to have become conditioned to large electronic signs offering up low interest rates and the like, so perhaps some sort of monument to this new form of visual pollution would be in order.

    Failing that, there’s always the tried-and-true way of capturing the fleeting attention of Fergus Falls drivers:

    Why shouldn’t the ubiquitous Black Sign be enshrined forever?

    The piece is also customizable, which will be a boon for those wondering when the next OLV fish fry is.

    • Frizzel

      Great idea Jake. I’d love to know when the next fish fry is. With your idea, could we have one or two of those giant spotlights to draw attention to said monument to all of the tourists this town has?

  • birdmanborch

    How about some low cost native prairie grass. Our politicians will think of any way to spend money, reminds me of your children with a dollar in their pocket!

  • birdmanborch

    How about some low cost native prairie grass. Our politicians will think of any way to spend money, reminds me of young children with a dollar in their pocket!

  • birdmanborch


  • cyberdog

    “can not afford to have their concentration distracted trying to observe artwork while maneuvering the roundabout”

    So, Welcome to the 21st century. Fergus Falls can not have public art in a roundabout because unlike the rest of the world it will cause confusion and car accidents? Quit trashing Fergus Falls!

    The I-94 exit at County Rd. 1 from the Twin Cities into the new business district of Fergus Falls will be the new entrance into our city. Its our first opportunity to make a good impression.

    We need to make our best effort to create a sculture which creates a great first impression of our city. I hope the final design will be first class and not some cheesy crap like you see in some towns.

    I hope the sculpture competion is open to everyone, not just the elite few in the inner circle of Fergus Falls.

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