The “Chicago Bean” of Minnesota is in Rochester

Recently I was lucky enough to spend a whirlwind 24 hours in Rochester, Minnesota. We had to be at the newly expanded Mayo Civic Center all day for a dance competition, which meant wandering around the downtown area.

It was hard to miss the 30-foot long, 15-foot high stainless steel sculpture positioned outside one of the entrances, and I knew I HAD to get a picture with it. But I also wanted to know the story behind the art. It was so similar to the “bean” in Chicago, was it inspired by it? Was it completely it’s own entity? I needed a photo shoot, and answers.

The project was started in July of 2016 when a Public Art Task Force (yes, that is a thing) selected Po Shu Wang of Berkeley, California to create something for the space.

Wang has been creating art for 30 years and his goal is to have “hands-on” projects. Pieces people can touch, are interactive, and participatory. He nailed it with this piece.

All day there were dancers, parents, and other pedestrians in town posing for, and selfie-ing with this giant shiny piece of art. Here are some specs on it:

  • 30 feet in length, 7 feet 6 inches in width, 15 feet 4 inches in height
  • It weighs 5,520 pounds
  • There is a technology aspect to the piece – a LED light, small microprocessor, and speaker located near the sculpture.
    The software that translates what’s typed into the keyboard (located in the inside kiosk) into music and light was completed by a programmer from Denmark.
  • Total cost was $200,000. It was part of the Mayo Civic Center expansion project and was paid for by the City of Rochester.

Marv Mitchell, chair of the Mayo Civic Center Commission said:

“The goal is to create an iconic image and identity for the facility. This sculpture will enliven the plaza and engage the citizens of Rochester as well as visitors to our community.”

Nailed it.

Read more about this sculpture on the Mayo Civic Center website, and be sure to snap a pic with it the next time you are in town.


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