Northern Rose Sculpture Moving Forward

Written By: Joe Bowen of The Herald

The granite installation, a 150-ton rock and rebar creation, is the work of a Minnesota sculptor, who has undertaken large-scale projects in the Twin Cities as well as Serbia.

A Grand Forks City Council vote means a massive granite sculpture is set to be installed near the Alerus Center this fall.

City Council members on Monday approved an agreement, pending a few edits by the city’s legal counsel, between the city and the nonprofit Public Arts Commission that governs the installation and maintenance of the “Northern Rose,” a 20-foot-high sculpture that’s set to be along 42nd Street South at the center’s northern parking lot entrance. That means the city will be spending about $50,000 to prepare the site and build a foundation for the 150-ton rock and rebar creation.

The project hinges on agreements between the commission, the city and the Canad Inns hotel. The commission pitched Northern Rose to the city in May, and the spot at which it hopes to place the rose would mean removing a pair of parking spots in a city-owned lot that is leased to the hotel. Council members also on Monday approved an agreement with the hotel, which allowed the city to eliminate two parking spots to make way for the sculpture. The hotel’s CEO told city staff in May that the company approved the sculpture’s placement in the hotel’s parking lot.

Northern Rose is the work of Minnesota sculptor Zoran Mojsilov who has undertaken large-scale projects in Serbia, St. Paul and Minneapolis. Reminiscent of North Dakota’s state flower, it’s designed to represent the “frontier spirit” and “strength and courage” of the people who settled in the area in the late 1800s, according to the Public Arts Commission’s website. The commission’s entry for the flower includes mention of the Lakota and Dakota people who have inhabited that same land.

“The Northern rose or prairie rose first pleased the Native inhabitants, then the immigrants who arrived later,” the commission’s website reads. “Still with us today, its delicate beauty belies its strength.”

The city sets aside money every year for public art and plans to use that to pay for its share of the project.

The commission also is in the planning stages to put a second sculpture, called “Confluence,” near the Alerus Center.