The Lunchtime Tourist

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July 21, 2003 // UPDATED 10:59 am - April 30, 2007
By: Linda S. Koutsky
Linda S. Koutsky

Paul Granlund's 'Birth of Freedom'

South 12th Street and Nicollet Mall

Sometimes art is just pleasing to the eye. Other times it expresses politically charged ideas. This prominent bronze sculpture by Paul Granlund, however, is meant to provide an uplifting experience.

Paul T. Granlund is one of Minnesota's leading sculptors with a nationally regarded reputation. His work is in many private and public collections stretching from Minneapolis to Paris to Hong Kong to Sydney. His award-winning sculptures have been in more than 70 gallery and museum exhibits.

While sculptor-in-residence at Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, Minn., for 14 years, Granlund left a bounty of work on the campus. More than 30 sculptures grace the school grounds and chapel. The college's Hillstrom Museum of Art plans to open a retrospective of Granlund's work mid-September. (The Weisman Art Museum is loaning one of their pieces for the exhibit.)

As a predominantly figurative sculptor, Granlund's work has been described as deeply spiritual and passionate -- a celebration of life, death, birth, family, and resurrection. In 1998 the artist received Viterbo College's most prestigious non-academic honor -- the Pope John XXIII Award of Distinguished Service, which is given annually to individuals who have made contributions of service in education, community, and spiritual values.

"Birth of Freedom" is an 18-foot-tall cast bronze sculpture. Four figures are in various states of climbing out of an abstract cubic form. The round, soft forms of the figures contrast with the hard edges of the contemporary structure.

A gift from the Thomas M. Crosby family to Westminster Presbyterian Church, 1200 Marquette Ave., this heroic sculpture was unveiled in 1977. During the dedication ceremony, the church's congregation hoped it would "stimulate all manner of healing and hopeful thoughts in the mind of the passer-by over the years to come."

For more of Granlund's work visit the Charles Lindbergh memorial on the State Capitol grounds or "Sprites" in the courtyard of Hennepin County Medical Center, 701 Park Ave. S.

LUNCH TIP: Head out a little early today for a prime outdoor table at Brit's Pub, 110 Nicollet Mall.

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