The Free Press, Mankato, MN

State, national news

March 16, 2014

Minn. Capitol renovation sparks debate on building's art

(Continued)

The newly remodeled building will have additional space for art, particularly in a new basement commons area. Loeffler said she hopes that's a place where newer works — perhaps by Minnesota artists — could be emphasized. She suggested art that portrays the state's many distinct geographical regions or work that highlights some of the state's greatest accomplishments.

Historic or allegorical art like Minnesota's is common in capitol buildings across the U.S., but some states' collections are broader. The New Mexico Capitol in Santa Fe houses a rotating modern art collection that its curators describe as one of the most comprehensive in the region.

Such art has not been without controversy. In Washington state, the House of Representatives voted in 1982 to cover a series of murals titled "The Twelve Labors of Hercules" because some lawmakers felt the images were obscene. The murals were later removed from the chamber and now hang at a nearby college.

Kate Solomonson, an associate architecture professor at the University of Minnesota, said she loved that the debate had been opened. She called the Capitol a "living building" that should not be treated as a time capsule.

"It's full of life," said Solomonson, who is working on a pair of projects focusing on Cass Gilbert. "It has served as a backdrop for countless demonstrations. Interior spaces have hosted endless debates."

She suggested the building's curators consider art that takes on the same issues lawmakers did.

"Why could we not have artwork that deals with political issues?" she wondered.

In Minnesota, a subcommittee of the commission overseeing the renovation will decide on the building's artistic assets.

"What is the story we want to tell about Minnesota to the people who come here?" Loeffler asked. "It's going to be a lively discussion."

Text Only | Photo Reprints
State, national news
  • 8,000 get false notice of health care cancellation ST. PAUL — More than 8,000 low-income Minnesotans received erroneous notices that their health coverage would be temporarily canceled if they don't pay up. A July 17 notice warned MinnesotaCare subscribers that they faced a four-month coverage locko

    July 28, 2014

  • ND deputy hurt in scuffle Suspect charged with assaulting, trying to disarm law officer

    July 28, 2014

  • Fergus Falls plans deer hunt Hunters are selected by a lottery, pay $20 fee

    July 28, 2014

  • Man killed in home invasion Homeowner's son in Ray, Minn., fires fatal shot

    July 28, 2014

  • Charges filed in July 8 fatal Dodge Center woman criminally charged in fatal car crash

    July 28, 2014

  • American doctor in Africa gets treatment for Ebola BOONE, N.C. (AP) — An American doctor infected with the deadly Ebola disease received intensive treatment Sunday in West Africa and was in stable condition, talking to his medical team and working on his computer, a spokeswoman for an aid group said.

    July 27, 2014

  • Salmonella Outbreak Trial [Duplicate] Trial in salmonella outbreak to start in Georgia ATLANTA (AP) — Three people accused of scheming to manufacture and ship salmonella-tainted peanuts that killed nine people, sickened more than 700 and prompted one of the largest food recalls in history are set to go to trial this week in south Georg

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • Pitfalls emerge in health insurance renewals WASHINGTON — For the 8 million people who persevered through all the technical travails in the new health insurance exchanges and managed to sign up for coverage in 2014, their policies will probably automatically renew come November when open enroll

    July 27, 2014

  • Hamas agrees to 24-hour holiday truce in Gaza war GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — Hamas on Sunday agreed to observe a 24-hour truce in Gaza after initially rejecting a similar Israeli offer, as fighting resumed and the two sides wrangled over the terms of a lull that international diplomats had hoped c

    July 27, 2014

  • Solar car race to end at University of Minnesota MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A cross-country solar car race is set to finish at the University of Minnesota on Monday. About 10 solar cars from colleges around the world are competing in the eight-day, 1,700-mile American Solar Challenge. The race began July

    July 27, 2014