backroads hutch sculpture

The creation of Library Square in the heart of Hutchinson Minn.’s downtown district over a hundred years ago was a stroke of civic wisdom and genius that continues to bring pleasure to both residents and visitors today. I suppose it’s not surprising that a town founded by a trio of abolitionist-musician brothers would have a city square with a band stand, fountain, library and sculptures. 

Life size bronze sculptures of the three brothers (Asa, John and Judson) are on permanent exhibition in the Square. The Hutchinson brothers sculpture, created by Robert Wilde from nearby Dassel, is part of a permanent art exhibit of eleven sculptures and murals scattered throughout Hutchinson’s public spaces and parks. The permanent sculptures include one by famed wildlife artist and Hutchinson native son Les Kouba, of Ojibway Chief Little Crow — also a native son of sorts. 

Hutchinson's permanent outdoor art collection anchors ten more sculptures that are on temporary display throughout the city. 

If you’d like to visit Hutchinson’s public art museum, Library Square — with its trees, flower beds, flowering shrubs, and plentiful benches — is a great place to start. In addition to the Hutchinson brothers, the Square hosts two other sculptures this summer. Kimber Fieberger’s Eggspert is an egg-shaped library patron, next to the handsome Carnegie library, who may or may not be Humpty Dumpty. 

Rick Haugen’s bronze Seated Couple isn’t attractive in any conventional sense, but it tugs at you. Glanced at from a distance, it repeatedly made me think that two people were seated in the shade of a hackberry tree. Up close, it barely looks human and is sort of blobby. But it invites you to sit on it. I did and it’s comfortable.

A few blocks from Library Square is a sculpture in steel created by Moorhead artist Karman Rheault, called Astral. It features a man and a woman emerging from flames and together reaching for a star. We liked it.

Not far from Astral is Farmer, a bronze by Lawrence Strack of Loveland Colo. I don’t like it. Strack’s farmer is a sweet old man from an old movie. Saccharine, I’d say.

That’s part of the fun of Hutchinson’s sculpture stroll. You don’t have to an Eggspert to have an opinion. For example, I wanted not to like John Kamrath’s Great Blue Heron. I love those beautiful clunky birds and the photos of Kamrath’s bird didn’t do them justice. But I sat with it awhile and decided he got it exactly right: Half clunky/half beautiful. I especially like the big shiny oval of burnished stainless steel. I enjoyed rubbing my hand over it.

If you go to Hutchinson, there are maps and brochures of the sculpture stroll in Library Square.