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Stevens County Times Editorial: Morris needs more public art

It's rare community members can watch an actual monument being sculpted. Residents should take advantage of the chance to watch artist Duane "Dewey" Goodwin sculpt a monument on the campus of the University of Minnesota Morris. Goodwin and one of his assistants, Inkpa, or Javier Lara-Ruiz, were quoted in stories about the significance of the monument to the Native American culture in stories in the July 14 Stevens County Times and on our website. The sculpture will depict a native woman and two children during the time when Indian children were removed from homes and sent to boarding schools. The sculpture is particularly poignant because it sits across from the only building that remains from when the university campus was an Indian boarding school.

The monument is an important link to Morris's, and the county's, past. Goodwin said it will be a part of the continuous healing for indigenous peoples. The sculpture will also be a reminder that past injustices cannot simply be shrugged away. And that if we are not reminded of past injustices, we can be doomed to repeat them in the future.

Art can make powerful statements. Art can inspire tears, laughter, joy and other almost countless emotions.

Art can also distinguish a community as it draws people into its story.

The monument on the UMM campus should spark a community discussion about why there isn't more public art in Morris. Why aren't there more sculptures or works of art in the outdoors of Morris? Various businesses and some public places display paintings and drawings but often, those don't seem to be rotated much. Then, we may pass those without a glance.

In short, Morris needs an art project. And it may require us to think outside the box. Or to think like artists.