About the Garden and Amphitheater
Designed by Rob Fischer, Kevin Johnson, and Su Legatt, the Heritage Garden for Moorhead will be located near the site of the decommissioned power plant along the Red River and adjacent to Woodlawn Park. Their plan seeks to recreate an environment that serves as an homage to the power plant while also acknowledging the important role it played in the development of Moorhead, MN. Its sculpted landscapes of low berms, garden beds, native plantings, and sculptural elements will draw people to the site and serve as a conduit between the river parkway and Woodlawn Park.
The artists aim to defy the perception that a former industrial site is not a suitable place for public use and enjoyment as well as defy the impact of repeated flooding of that area, which can make the riverside off limits for public use in years of spring flooding. Their concept of building a into the landscape also defies tendencies to forget our histories and the experiences of common people. To counteract forgetting, the artists are working with students in the Department of Art at Concordia College to gather both perennial plants and stories from Moorhead residents, focusing on neighborhoods near the power plant. Some plants may come from gardens that were left behind when houses recently were removed from the flood-prone riverside. These plants will find new homes in the Heritage Garden, and the recorded stories about the history of that area will be made available in the garden via QR codes.
The legacy of the power plant, which has provided power to Moorhead since 1896, will be made through concrete forms built into the new garden that echo the cement remnants at the plant. Machinery parts from the plant will be installed on the cement bases, becoming sculptural forms. The power plant is slated for demolition in summer 2014, and construction of the Heritage Garden will begin soon after.
The Heritage Garden will also include a new amenity for Moorhead, an earthen amphitheater, built into the hillside north of the main garden area. It will be used for events, such as musical performances and outdoor film screenings.
For four years, Plains Art Museum and the artists have collaborated with Moorhead Public Service, the City of Moorhead, Moorhead Parks and Recreation, Concordia College, and The Moorhead Power Plant Study Group to accomplish this new garden for Moorhead. The National Endowment for the Arts, Artplace America, the Bush Foundation, and Lake Region Arts Council have all provided support for this project.
Rob Fischer is a sculptor, living in Brooklyn, New York, and Park Rapids, Minnesota, whose work has been featured at the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles, the Corcoran Gallery in Washington, D.C., and many other galleries and museums. Based in Brooklyn and originally from Minneapolis, Kevin Johnson is a sculptor and public artist who has designed numerous public art projects, gardens, and rain gardens nationally. A resident of Moorhead, Su Legatt teaches photography and graphic design in the Department of Visual Arts at North Dakota State University. She works in socially engaged art as well as studio practices and has led numerous projects in our region.