The lunchtime tourist

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September 17, 2002 // UPDATED 1:31 pm - April 30, 2007
By: Linda S. Koutsky
Linda S. Koutsky

Water Whirligigs, Hennepin County Government Center Fountain, 300 S. 6th St.

Do you ever wonder what all those people think about when they're stranded fishing in the middle of a lake? Local artist Jane Frees-Kluth thinks about inventing the perfect homage to a fishing lure. Preferably a large, spinning one, with lots of bright colors.

This summer, Frees-Kluth's dreams came true with a commission from Hennepin County. She installed five whale-sized lures in the thunderous waterfall at the Hennepin County Government Center, just in time for the Aquatennial.

The abstract fish (peer into the fountain from the center overlook) range in length from two to four feet and are painted in typical angler day-glow colors. They wobble and shake and appear to be swimming upstream in the frantic water -- exactly the job of any good lure! Each has a kinetic component that spins vigorously in the current. Imaginative tail designs differentiate the species.

When she's not daydreaming on a fishing boat, Frees-Kluth is busy in her studio working on less abstract artworks. She has a BFA in Environmental Design from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design, has work in many regional collections, and recently won a Jerome Foundation grant. The versatile artist works in a variety of media including bronze, cast-iron, concrete, ceramics and printmaking. Her playful design for the Harrison neighborhood gateway at Olson Memorial Highway and Penn Avenue North features two cast-bronze figures of children on colorful pedestals.

About her work, Frees-Kluth says, "I try to create public art that leaves people a little bit happier than they were before." Catch the fun of these urban whirligigs now through Oct. 15 when they'll head south for some deep-sea fishing.

LUNCH TIP: Give government a chance. Have lunch with the politicos and maybe a juror or two in the Park Cafe located on the lower level of government center overlooking the fountain.

Hook something interesting?