Franconia Sculpture Park
Entrance to Franconia Sculpture Park
|Location||29836 St. Croix Trail, Franconia, Minnesota, United States|
|Nearest parking||On site (no charge)|
Franconia Sculpture Park is an outdoor sculpture park in Franconia, Minnesota, United States, that offers a combination of work, residence, and exhibition space for emerging and established artists. The 43-acre (17 ha) park, with a rotating collection of over 105 contemporary sculptures, and is free and open to the public. It draws over 60,000 visitors annually.
Franconia Sculpture Park was founded in 1996 by a small group of artists led by sculptor and educator John Hock. The original 16-acre (6.5 ha) park was 2 miles (3.2 km) east of the current location and in 2006 the park moved from its original location to the current 43-acre (17 ha) site. Since 1996, Franconia has established a reputation as one of the country's most innovative sculpture parks. In 2011 Franconia established Franconia in the City, a 1,700-square-foot (160 m2) gallery and education space at the Casket Arts Community Complex in Northeast Minneapolis. The park is governed by a board of directors that in 2014 includes Josine Peters, Gar Hargens, Dorothy Goldie, Erik Janssen, Amy McKinney, John Joachim, Davis Klaila, Ronald Kopeska, John Kremer, Diane Mullin, Tamsie Ringler.
In 2009 Franconia was the only Minnesota arts organization outside of the Twin Cities to receive National Endowment for the Arts/American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding. In 2010 the park was among the selected grantees to receive part of the $20 million allocation from the state of Minnesota's Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.
Franconia offers fellowship, internship, and workshop programs that support visual artists at all levels of their career as they create new sculpture to be sited specifically at the park. Artists are creating new work at the park from April through November. The program is publicized by actively soliciting artists' proposals locally, nationally, and internationally. Between the Park and Franconia @ Casket, each year Franconia supports up to 125 artists as they create and exhibit new work. In their first 18 years, 775 artists have received direct support from Franconia.
In 2013 Franconia launched the Rural Arts Program, with support provided by a Minnesota State Arts Board Arts Access grant, which in its first year served 1,213 rural youth, encouraging interaction and engagement with art and artists. In addition, Franconia has a schedule of programs for art lovers of all ages including Kids Make Sculpture workshops, artist-led tours, twice-monthly 3D Symposiums, and the Music At Franconia summer concert series.
Each year Franconia hosts an annual Valentine's Day Iron Pour in February, an annual Community Collaboration Hot Metal Pour in August, the Art & Artists Celebration in September, and a Pie & Wine Potluck Soiree in November.
In 2015 Franconia Sculpture Park partook in the inaugural International Sculpture Day, or IS Day, on April 24th 2015, as part of the International Sculpture Center's vision to bring awareness and appreciation of sculpture to our communities.