Lunchtime Tourist

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April 25, 2005 // UPDATED 1:54 pm - April 26, 2007
By: Linda Koutsky
Linda Koutsky

Top Hat
LaSalle Plaza lobby, near 9th and Hennepin

What would you propose if you got to design a sculpture near the State Theater? Hanging over the escalator in the lobby, it would have to be big - and it would need to be visible from all sides as well as from above and below. But don't spend too much time thinking about it because, if you haven't noticed, it's already in place.

Andrea Myklebust and Stanton Sears won the commission in 1991. "Top Hat" was inspired by Fred Astaire and is constructed of wood and aluminum. The sculpture looks like a three-dimensional computer-aided-design drawing. The hollow portrait looks like an armature awaiting its final fitting from the costume department.

Myklebust and Sears work together as a collaborative team. Their core beliefs include creating a connection between people and their physical environment, bringing a spirit of play into public spaces, and developing artworks that are conceptually accessible yet still contain a bit of mystery. They work in cast metal, carved stone, glass, terra cotta and even landscape design.

Most of the work by Myklebust-Sears is considered public art. Many projects are paid for through the 1-percent-for-art program that began in the 1960s as a way to enliven public buildings with commissioned artworks. The program is still alive today and thrives in publicly funded buildings throughout the Twin Cities.

Other Myklebust-Sears work in the metro area includes the "Sources" water fountain at Hennepin County Government Center, 300 S. 6th St. and the "Stoneboat" granite benches on Nicollet Mall at 4th and 7th streets. They also did the Minnesota Vietnam Veterans Memorial at the state Capitol and terrazzo floors in both airport terminals - be sure to look down the next time you're running to catch a flight!

LUNCH TIP: Creative lunches such as apricot chicken salad are available at Zeno Caf, the building's first-floor restaurant.

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