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Smith Avenue Ramp (St. Paul) Public Art

Title: Untitled

Artist: Dick Huss

Material: Glass, stainless steel, copper, powdered stainless steel, electrical and lighting components, motherboard

Eight large round disks of steel and glass with flashing lights are stacked vertically in a narrow area next to the stairway. The steel disks and copper sheets are painted and the lights flash in different patterns and are controlled by a computer.

This artwork is in a shared facility between the City of Saint Paul and Metro Transit. The Public Art is owned and maintained by the City of Saint Paul.

Public art Smith Avenue Ramp

Public art Smith Avenue Ramp

Public art Smith Avenue Ramp

Public art Smith Avenue Ramp

Artist Dick Huss was asked to create a contemporary public art piece for the stair lobby of the Smith Avenue Parking Ramp. This location is frequented by many Minnesota Wild hockey fans and concert audiences at the Xcel Energy Center. There was a need to create energy and movement in this area that is predominantly parking ramps and surface lots. The artist's response was to incorporate lights that flash and change patterns while making a piece "just to be as funky as I could."

Public art Smith Avenue Ramp

For decades, St. Paul's Dick Huss has been known as one of the most accomplished glass artists in Minnesota, His work is distinguished by his adventurous sense of color - in both translucent and opaque glass - and by the use of metals, primarily gold and silver leaf, in many of his pieces.

"I take risks all the time and try to always have fun," he states. "I've learned to appreciate failure because it's really the only way to measure success. My philosophy on life is 'always rebel.' Don't do it in a way that conflicts with others but in a way that keeps you actively questioning what's right and wrong. Otherwise you become complacent and that creativity you want leaves you."

The artist, who holds a degree from Mankato State University, has studied with glass masters Lino Tagliapietra, Dante Marioni and Richard Marquis and has served as an instructor at the University of Minnesota and at the Penland School of Crafts in North Carolina. He has received grants from the Minnesota State Arts Board and the Jerome Foundation. Over the years, he has completed many commissions for public and private spaces. Dick's work can be found in collections worldwide, including those of the Art Institute of Chicago and the Corning Museum of Glass in New York.

Public art by Dick Huss

Information and image taken from The Grand Hand Gallery.

The Metro Transit Public Art Collection is one of the largest collections of public art in Minnesota. There are 38 sites with 70 public artworks created by 32 artists. If you look at a typical site, like Fairview Avenue Station, which is considered one site and one public artwork, there are eight separate mosaics at that station. Small Kindnesses: Weather Permitting by Janet Zweig is considered one public artwork, but consists of 24 separate pieces at seven different stations. This actually means that the Metro Transit Public Art Collection of 70 public artworks could be considered to have more than 350 individual public art pieces.

Twenty of these works are integrated into the construction of light rail stations to such a degree that the station itself is the work of art. By comparison, in 2016 the City of Saint Paul has 84 artworks at 63 sites by 44 artists and the City of Minneapolis has 64 artworks at 55 sites by 57 artists.

The art in the Metro Transit Collection varies greatly with everything from ceramic tiles, to laser-cut metals, to laminated and screened glass, to bronze, stone and wood sculptures. There are even interactive pieces with screens and circuit boards.

Public art by Janet Zweig

Small Kindnesses: Weather Permitting by Janet Zweig - located at seven Blue Line Stations

Public art by Deborah Mersky and Richard Elliott

Midas Fence by Deborah Mersky and paver design by Richard Elliott - American Boulevard Station

Public art by Janet Lofquist

Ancient Waters by Janet Lofquist - Robert Street Station

Public art by Myckelburst and Sears

The Great Northern 4-8-4 Mountain Class by Myckelburst and Sears - Union Depot Station

Public art by Cliff Garten

Urban Circle by Cliff Garten - 36th Street Station