Sculpture winner

"Maestro" by Sherri Treeby and Lee Leuning won the People's Choice Award for the CityArt Walking Sculpture Tour. Photo by Pat Christman

MANKATO — Musical notes have been heard along the streets of downtown Mankato since May when the interactive "Maestro" sculpture was installed as part of the CityArt Walking Sculpture Tour.

Now, there will be chimes forever.

The bronze sculpture of a little boy directing his imaginary orchestra — a stainless steel xylophone and hanging chimes — won the People's Choice Award and will now make Mankato its home.

The City Center Partnership will purchase the sculpture, which got the most votes from those who took the walking tour, and permanently install it in City Center of Mankato-North Mankato. 

"Maestro" was created by Sherri Treeby and Lee Leuning, of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, who have created more than 220 sculptures together. They have run Bad River Artworks since 1989.

"I had seen some homemade musical instruments, and been to a couple of musical parks," Treeby said. "So I thought why not take what we do, because we do Americana, and combine something with that."

Treeby was an art teacher for many years and said she likes to create things that appeal to children.

"It attracts them and there's no bad notes," Treeby said of the chimes and xylophone on the sculpture.

In the artist statement with the piece, Treeby and Leuning wrote that "Maestro" depicts a time before the internet when kids would use their imaginations in their play and there were no limits. The maestro is a boy dressed up in a bow tie and tux using a stick as his baton to conduct his imaginary musicians.

"Maestro" was sponsored by the Mankato Clinic Orthopaedic and Fracture Clinic and has a selling price of $20,000.

Past winners of the People's Choice Award include the giant shining "Godzilla" now standing at the entrance to lower North Mankato and "Saturday Distractions," a sculpture of a boy reading with his dog at his feet.

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