It's time to transform Victory Memorial Parkway into an art walk

A way to bring art and draw visitors to north Minneapolis.

A way to bring art and draw visitors to north Minneapolis. J. Dan E. Maruska

North Minneapolis has undergone a well-deserved revitalization in the past decade. Great new businesses have opened, the neighborhood’s wonderful houses continue to be restored, and people are crossing over the new Lowry Avenue bridge from northeast, better connecting the two areas.

But unlike other neighborhoods, this quadrant of the city has always been missing a good public space. One intriguing possibility would be to transform Victory Memorial Parkway in to an art or sculpture walk.

This sounds like a fantastical idea, but it would be easy to do.

Victory Memorial is already set up to be a perfect sculpture walk. It’s a wide boulevard with a narrow street running down the center, with vast expanses of lawn on both sides. We could install a few sculptures per block on either side, running the length of the boulevard. We’d only need to add a path or sidewalk and some seating and we’d have a five-mile loop of a sculpture walk. That’s a lot of art.

A large art or sculpture park would attract people from other parts of the city to the neighborhood, as well as draw in people from the nearby northwest suburbs. It would also attract people from the region, just like the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden. And it would be an attraction that helps us as we compete with cities from Portland to Austin to Nashville.

Even more than being a city of lakes, Minneapolis is a city of art. We have the visual arts, music, theater, film, writing, and a wonderful collection of galleries and museums.

However, we need to better integrate our art into the streetscape.

We need both residents and visitors alike to see that although we don’t have a coast or mountains, we have our lovely chain of lakes, the lush Mississippi, and parks full of art to marvel at. Such displays of public art are an integral part of how great cities are made.