By Edie Schmierbach
---- — Waking up very early and biking downtown to watch the installation of outdoor sculptures is an annual spring ritual for many Mankato and North Mankato residents. Saturday, they will treated to the unveiling of 32 new works at sites in Mankato and North Mankato's city centers.
Selections for the 2014 CityArt Walking Sculpture Tour were chiseled, poured or soldered in studios as far away as Italy and as close as Kasota and Good Thunder. The creations were made by artists from 12 states, including several Minnesotans.
“Meet and Greet on the Street” has been added to the installation weekend agenda this year. Several participating artists will be on hand near sculpture sites between 3-4 p.m. Saturday to talk to the public about the inspiration behind their works.
CityArt is also planning an artists’ reception 4-6 p.m. Saturday at Number 4 American Bar and Kitchen. Tickets for the reception cost $35 and may be ordered by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 388-1062.
Additionally, sculpture aficionados will have the option of voting online for their favorite People’s Choice sculpture. The CityArt Committee cited smartphone technology's popularity as a reason for adding online voting. Another was the realization that not everyone is able to take the tour on foot, said Noelle Lawton, special initiatives coordinator for the City Center Partnership.
Voters also may use paper ballots from the CityArt Walking Sculpture Tour brochure — as they did for the committee's past three favorite-sculpture contests.
The new sculptures and online voting will go live on the CityArt website on Saturday at cityartmankato.com.