Whenever you pass the intersection of France Avenue and Market Street, you’ll see Garden Quilt, an installation on the east side of the North Parking Ramp at 50th and France. It brightens my day with its vibrant colors, which are also lit at night to radiate these dynamic patterns in the dark. The 18 unique pieces of the sculpture unite different characteristics of Edina, like squares in a patchwork quilt.
Twin Cities artist and environmental designer Heather Novak-Peterson engaged nearby business owners and Edina residents in workshops and surveys to determine the content of this public art installation. “We originally envisioned the project fulfilling a decorative need,” Novak-Peterson says. “But it soon became clear we had the need to tell a story as well.”
Garden Quilt displays images of various aspects of our community. Some of the visuals are inspired by the City of Edina’s logo, which include a clover and thistle, and some by architectural details of Edina’s Grange Hall. All these details come together to create one beautiful piece. “Our differences work well when they come together,” Novak-Peterson says.
She describes her artistic method as “digital lasagna.” What does this mean? She says the separate pieces of Garden Quilt were created in a collage of drawing, photography and painting, with layers involving printing and technology. For the artwork’s fabrication and installation, Novak-Peterson collaborated with Sign Source, a commercial exterior signage company that prepared the art for the weather and other outdoor challenges.
Garden Quilt is three stories high, yet its towering presence is not unusual for Novak-Peterson. She has designed murals and interior spaces for several buildings in downtown Minneapolis, including the Foshay Tower and The 15 Building. Many of her projects, like Garden Quilt, combine environmental graphics and architectural storytelling in a splash of local color.
Contributed by Laura Westlund, a tour guide at the Weisman Art Museum and an art hound for Minnesota Public Radio.