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Cook County Historical Society and Johnson Heritage Post select artist for the Site Specific Public Art Project

Grand Marias, MN, 11/15/2023 – Cook Coun­ty Historical Society (CCHS) and the Johnson Heritage Post (JHP), through the generous sup­port from the Lloyd K. Johnson Foundation, are thrilled to announce MN artist Sam Gathje as the selection for the Site Specific Public Art Project.

Through artwork, the Johnson Heritage Post aims to celebrate local members and visitors of the Cook County community, and the cultural heritage of the region. Through this Public Art Project, we aim to commission a public art piece that reflects artistic and technical qualities and fosters a welcoming and uplifting environment.

Gathje specializes in stone and woodwork. He has created pieces such as Prairie Réseau, two stone monoliths roughly 9’h x 4’w, weighing 5000 pounds each in St. Louis Park, MN. He also co-created the Minnesota Workers Memo­rial, a 45-foot-long mural made up of hand-cut tile mosaic, that sits in front of the Minnesota State Capitol.

He has extensive experience in teaching, in­cluding multiple stints at North House Folk School in Grand Marais.

A panel made up of community members, CCHS board members and staff will work with Gathje on a final design for the project, including the medium. The finished piece will be placed at the main plaza entrance of JHP, and will create a point of interest for visitors to the gallery as well as those passing by.

“I believe that public art has the power to transport us. Through collaboration, community engagement, and intentional placement of sculp­tural forms, public art has the power to activate the mind, the body, and the spirit,” he said.

The project is expected to be completed by the end of summer 2024.

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