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Celebrating Art Appreciation Month

In honor of August being celebrated as national Art Appreciation Month, each week we'll highlight popular works from the federal Fine Arts Collection from another state in the Great Lakes Region. This week it's Minnesota and Wisconsin.

And stay tuned for the grand opening of GSA's Fine Arts Collection Online coming soon.


Long shot of Rockman tower of rocks and characters looking on - Sachay photoTom Otterness, Rockman, 1999
Cast bronze
U.S. Courthouse, Minneapolis, MN

Medium shot of Rockman characters mowing and raking a grass drumlin in the plaza - Sachay photoCreated for the plaza of the U.S. Courthouse, Rockman features a series of whimsical sculptures engaged in activities ranging from labor to recreation. Drawing on fables and mythology, the anthropomorphic depictions of stones, snakes, toads and other creatures present humorous interpretations of modern life and the human condition.  

Photo credits: Caroline Sachay



Long shot of Protagoras sculputure on St. Paul Courthouse plaza - Ryan photoCharles Ginnever, Protagoras, 1977
Weathering steel
Warren E. Burger Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse, St. Paul, MN

Made of large sheets of cut and welded steel, Protagoras exhibits an almost origami-like delicacy. The abstract composition is a dynamic interplay of positive and negative space, allowing the piece to assume different guises depending on the perspective and position of each viewer.

Photo credit: Greg Ryan



Helen Mirra, Roseau County Bird Rainbow and Tamarack Color Index, 2006 
Latex paint on wall and powdercoated aluminum
Port of Entry, Warroad, MN

Close-up of mural listing migratory bird names - Ooms photoCommissioned for the Land Port of Entry, Helen Mirra created a two-part project that responds to the architectural design of the site and ecological processes that shape the region.

In the lobby, the mural Roseau County Bird Rainbow features the common names of three dozen migratory birds that regularly visit the area. Each name includes an identifying color (e.g. Yellow-Rumped Warbler, Olive-Sided Flycatcher, Green Warbler). Read in sequence, the list conjures a brilliant chromatic spectrum. Painted a single color, the mural requires each viewer to use memory, imagination, or experience to complete the picture.

Long shot of 5 colored panels with forest backdrop from Mirra's Tamarack sculpture - Ooms photoInstalled at the edge of the site, Tamarack Color Index includes five panels mounted to double-height posts. Each panel is painted the dominant color of the surrounding landscape in different seasons. As the year progresses, the panels seem to emerge from and recede into the foliage, marking cycles of time and changes in the environment.  

Photo credits: Frank Ooms Photography



Medium exterior shot of Sproat neon light sculpture - Highsmith photoChristopher Sproat, Untitled, 1987 
Aluminum, acrylic, cold-cathode
Robert W. Kastenmeier U.S. Courthouse, Madison, WI

Inspired by science fiction and popular culture Christopher Sproat's evocative compositions are grounded in geometry and architectonic form. 

Close-up of neon spiral from Sproat's Kastenmeier Courthouse sculpture - Highsmith photoInstalled in the portico of the Kastenmeier U.S. Courthouse, Sproat's untitled installation of blazing red neon and painted metal stands in striking contrast to the building's rich blue façade.

Photo credits: Carol Highsmith


Michael Finn
(312) 886-3529

Caroline Sachay
(312) 353-0744

federal fine art, art in architecture, art collection, WPA, Works Progress Administration