Dakota-Edgewood bridge to feature Native artwork

Construction to be finished by fall

The+Dakota-Edgewood+trial+bridge+is+currently+under+construction+May+17.+The+bridge+will+have+an+art+wall+created+by+groups+that+identify+as+Dakota+tribe.

Anna Benishek

The Dakota-Edgewood trial bridge is currently under construction May 17. The bridge will have an art wall created by groups that identify as Dakota tribe.

Sophia Curran-Moore

Park Friends of the Arts Director Jamie Marshall said he got involved in the Dakota-Edgewood project because he is optimistic Park residents will be touched by the work.

“I hope it will create opportunities for viewers to see something in a new perspective, and to experience a sense of wonder or an emotional response in a place they weren’t expecting to encounter artwork like that,” Marshall said.

The Dakota-Edgewood trail bridge is currently under construction. The bridge will highlight art created by an individual or group that identify with the Dakota tribe. The construction is expected to finish this fall and the artwork is expected to conclude next spring.

According to senior Elise Anderson, supporting work by indigenous artists is critical because they are a marginalized group.

“Increasing community art participation, especially from indigenous people, whose voices haven’t been heard in any of our history, is important,” Anderson said. “It’s important to listen to these people and give them a space to express themselves and participate in society, as we’ve let white people do for hundreds of years.”

According to Marshall, indigenous artists will be featured to educate people about the Dakota tribe and their relationship with Minnesota land.

“I hope it would offer a reminder of the connections between the land and the indigenous peoples who are the past and present stewards of the land,” Marshall said. “We really want to build relationships and have meaningful action beyond just an artwork to check a box of representation.”

The bridge will also feature artistic contributions from Peter Hobart Elementary students, coordinated by art teacher Joseph DeCamillis. DeCamillis said the art will focus on pollinators because Park advocates for protecting pollinators.

“I’ll be having (the students) create spontaneous drawings of native flora and pollinators, and the imagery that we’ll create will come out of those drawings,” DeCamillis said. “St. Louis Park is a very bee-friendly city. We really try to support our pollinators here.”

We really want to build relationships and have meaningful action beyond just an artwork to check a box of representation.”

— Jamie Marshall

In addition to the artwork, the bridge will offer bikers easy access to different parts of the city. According to Anderson, the bridge will reduce the present difficulty of bicycling in Park

“As someone who bicycles a lot in the area, to get across the railroad tracks you have to go either down to Louisiana or all the way up to the JCC. It’s a multiple minute detour and makes it really inconvenient,” Anderson said. “(The Dakota-Edgewood bridge) will make it a lot easier to get through the city.”

Junior John Lawrence said he hopes the structure will facilitate both walking and biking because of the sustainability and health benefits.

“I hope it’s not just pedestrian, but that it will also have accessibility for people on bicycles. Most bridges I see are made for pedestrians. It’s very difficult to bike up them,” Lawrence said. “I think it’s very important for St. Louis Park to support biking and walking. It’s really good for the environment and it’s healthy to go on frequent walks and bike rides.”