Ramsey-Washington Metro Watershed District invites the public to celebrate two new public art installations—Water is Life and Rainy Day—at the Maplewood Mall. These two outdoor public artworks highlight themes about the interaction between water, nature and the built environment.
The festivities will begin at the mall’s west entrance at 11:00 AM with the unveiling of the interactive sculpture Water is Life. A procession will then weave through the mall to the east entrance for a ceremony to honor the completion of the mural, Rainy Day. Performances and poetry created by local students will round out the celebration. A reception with the artists follows.
Artist Cecilia Schiller, together with Willis Bowman, created Water is Life, an interactive, water driven, tree-shaped sculpture to encourage the community to share in the responsibility of protecting water and keeping it clean. Viewers can make the sculpture move by turning a wheel on a crank box adjacent to it. Schiller’s idea for the sculpture was developed over the course of a year by interacting with watershed district staff, volunteers and community members and exploring sites and waterways within the watershed. Ultimately Schiller chose the location at Maplewood Mall for its unique challenge to use rainwater in creative ways, the opportunity to reach a large and diverse audience.
Tessera Mosaics artists, David Aichinger, Jessica Turtle and Christy Schwartz created the large colorful, playful ceramic and stone tile mural, Rainy Day to draw attention to the interplay between nature and the built environment. Created as a backdrop for the Watershed District’s dramatically decorated cistern and the rain garden surrounding it at the mall’s east entrance, the mural entices visitors to find images embedded in the design. It also inspires an appreciation of the beauty and capacity of long- rooted plants in the mall’s rain gardens to help water soak into the ground, keeping downstream lakes and the Mississippi River safe from potentially harmful pollutants that would otherwise run off from the mall’s parking lots, rooftops and roads.
Schiller received development, construction and installation funding from Forecast Public Art St. Paul for Water Is Life. Ramsey-Washington Metro Watershed District and the Jerome Foundation provided additional funds. The Rainy Day mural was funded by Ramsey-Washington Metro Watershed District.
Ramsey-Washington Metro Watershed District is partnering with Maplewood Mall, Harding High School Earth Club, St. Peter’s School and Farnsworth Aerospace School for this event.