Pollinator Garden for Plains Art Museum

About the Pollinator Garden

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An environmental artist based in the Twin Cities, Christine Baeumler proposed the creation of a “pollinator garden” that will help to sustain populations of species that are critical to our food supplies, such as bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds. Working with Museum staff, local businessmen, a horticulturalist-ecologist-landscape architect, teens, and other artists, Baeumler proposed that the Museum redesign its outdoor spaces into a greener, more environmental friendly master plan. Her Pollinator Garden for Plains Art Museum will include expanded gardens, rain gardens to capture storm water runoff, and areas that will attract pollinators and humans to attractive outdoor environments. Thus the project defies the urban environment of the Museum, which is mostly cement and asphalt, while defying the dwindling numbers of pollinators, who are critical to our food supply.

Youth education is a key component of the Pollinator Garden. In June 2014 , seventeen exceptional teens participated in Buzz Lab, a week-long internship at the Museum. They learned about the importance of pollinators, particularly bees, visited local apiaries and gardens, and planted part of the Pollinator Garden. Nicknamed “The Swarm,” this group also made ceramic plant markers, working with co-teacher MeLissa Kossick, who specializes in science-art integration.

The master plan for Pollinator Garden, created in collaboration with Barr Engineering, will be implemented in three phases, as funding becomes available. This summer, look for gardens, a rain garden with a cistern to collect rain water runoff from a nearby roof, trees, and a small urban orchard to be planted near the Katherine Kilbourne Burgum Center for Creativity. Future phases will include a green roof for the Museum’s loading dock—visible from the Bradley J. Burgum Skybridge—a working bee hive, and a rain garden in the parking lot that will clean pollutants out of rain water.

Christine Baeumler is an associate professor of art at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, has served as artist in residence for two watershed districts, and has collaborated on major environmental remediation projects at the Maplewood Mall, north of St. Paul, and the Bruce Vento Nature Sanctuary near  downtown St. Paul. Collaborating artists for Pollinator Garden are MeLissa Kossick, a community artist and K-12 art teacher, and Seitu Jones, a horticulturalist, public artist, and advocate of urban orchards. Landscape architect and horticulturalist Fred Rozumalski and engineer Kurt Leuthold from Barr Engineering have been central to the master plan design.

Pollinator Garden for Plains Art Museum is supported by grants from Artplace America and the Bush Foundation. The Museum also thanks Juliet Patterson, Jay Alsop, Jesse Riley, Joe Rinehart, Abby Gold, Monique Stelzer, and Baker Garden and Gift.

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