Transformation is in the air and on the ground at Pedro Park downtown Saint Paul. This summer, the barren lot in the heart of a new residential development at 10th and Robert Streets will blossom with joy, beauty and color as an Urban Flower Field. Over the next two years, it will illuminate, with the use of helpful flowers, the scientific possibilities of soil remediation and the City’s efforts in this space in transition.
'Grow Your Community as the Urban Flower Field' opens with a community event on June 28 from 9:30-11:30am. Come to paint rocks that will be placed in the Field, drink lemonade, and meet neighbors. The event is free and open to the public.
The site, which was the former home of Pedro's Luggage prior to being donated to the city in 2009, has a future as Pedro Park, potentially the largest park in downtown Saint Paul, across from the new Penfield Development to the north and Rossmore Building, with a vibrant mix of housing, restaurants, shops, and a new Lund’s market.
City Artist in Residence Amanda Lovelee has envisioned the project, engaging a multi-disciplinary team to collaborate in its design and realization. With the help of members of the downtown community, the project has planted 96 bio-diverse plots of flowers. University of St. Thomas researchers will use these plots to test whether more diverse flower plots are better able to extract harmful substances from the soil. The plots are arranged in a shape representing the golden mean, creating walking paths and a gathering space for programmed activities and neighborhood events.The City of Saint Paul Parks and Recreation Department has worked with Lovelee to design and develop the project and helped to provide both financial and in-kind support to bring the project to flower.
“From briefcases and luggage to flowers and park space, this site will have seen a tremendous transformation over the last 5 years, and it’s only the beginning," says Saint Paul Parks and Recreation Director Mike Hahm. "I’m very encouraged by how the community has embraced this project and thankful for this one-in-a-lifetime opportunity that was made possible because of the land donation by the Pedro family. I’m hopeful everyone is as eager and excited as I am for what’s next for Pedro Park.”
Artist Ed Charbonneau who has created a large mural as Urban Flower Field backdrop on the wall of the Public Safety Building Annex. Echoing the garden plot layout inspired by Fibanacci’s sequence, the bold orange and yellow shapes can be seen from I-94 as people enter the City.
The University of St. Thomas Department of Environmental Sciences is an essential collaborator, working with Lovelee to shape an expansive experiment in soil remediation as part of a temporary public art installation. Led by Professor Adam Kay, students are on the ground at Urban Flower Field every day, planting and over time tending the garden plots. Ecological Gardens has worked with Berg Brothers to develop the landscape. The Minneapolis College of Art and Design is supporting participation of two interns in the project. Members of the community have stepped forward to plant, weed, water and program. Beginning in July, Joe Costa will offer free Yoga/Pilates Fusion sessions in the Field; Black Sheep Pizza is working with Lovelee to produce Film in the Field nights. Programs will expand over the two-year life of the project.
SponsorsUrban Flower Field is produced by Public Art Saint Paul in partnership with the Saint Paul Parks and Recreation Department. This activity is made possible with support from ArtPlace America, the City of Saint Paul, the University of Saint Thomas, the Minneapolis College of Art and Design, Lund’s, Black Sheep Pizza, and Keys Café and Bakery.