0

City of Duluth unveils permanent art sculpture "Ascension"

The city of Duluth held a public art unveiling in the middle of the roundabout on McClure Bridge Road Wednesday. The artwork titled Ascension built by blacksmith artist and sculptor Michael Dillon stands 10 feet tall, 26 feet wide and weighs 3 tons.


The city of Duluth held a public art unveiling Wednesday. The artwork titled Ascension built by blacksmith artist and sculptor Michael Dillon stands 10 feet tall, 26 feet wide and weighs 3 tons. (Staff Photos: Brendan Sullivan)

The city of Duluth held a public art unveiling Wednesday. The artwork titled Ascension built by blacksmith artist and sculptor Michael Dillon stands 10 feet tall, 26 feet wide and weighs 3 tons. (Staff Photos: Brendan Sullivan)

DULUTH — “It is not going anywhere,” Mayor Nancy Harris said of a 3-ton sculpture unveiled Wednesday morning in Duluth.

Centered in the roundabout that connects McClure Bridge Road, Irvindale Road and West Lawrenceville Street, facing toward the heart of the city, stands “Ascension,” a metal sculpture part avian and part farming tool. Depending on how one views the piece, the bird’s wings could serve as handles and the base on which the bird is mounted resembles a plow.

“It really is about the idea of work to worth and the idea of being able to bring about the prosperity through the values of work,” said Michael Dillon, the blacksmith artist who envisioned the piece and brought it to fruition. “I think, you know, the spirit of Duluth, you can see that in there.”

“It also represents … Duluth soaring to a brighter tomorrow,” Harris said.

Dillon, a Milton resident, was selected from 87 artist submissions by the Gateway Art Committee to spearhead the project. The committee, formed and led by Harris, consisted of 22 volunteers who met for more than two years to bring “Ascension” to the city.

“I wouldn’t have missed it,” Duluth resident and artist Beth Moody Faulkner said of the unveiling, which consisted of several officials and volunteers cutting ropes attached to a green parachute covering the sculpture before removing the chute. “I just had to come see it unveiled. I think it’s wonderful and I love the roundabout, the fact that we’ve got that here.”

The piece of public artwork was funded by the company AGCO, a global manufacturer of agricultural equipment that is headquartered in Duluth.

“We are in Duluth now for many, many years,” said Martin Richenhagen, chairman, presidents and CEO of AGCO. “We like it a lot. We have a lot of employees who live here. I personally live here with three kids and so we wanted to do something good for the city because we like all of the development so Duluth is really booming and getting nicer and nicer every day.”

The process of building the 10-foot-tall structure with an 8-foot width and 26-foot length took seven months, and Dillon estimated he’s put about 1,000 hours into the work.

“I was just trying to build this visual vocabulary that speaks to a lot of different people from a lot of different backgrounds,” Dillon said. “I think you can take something away from this work no matter who you are or where you come from.”

Video

Art Unveiling in Duluth

The city of Duluth held a public art unveiling in the middle of the roundabout on McClure Bridge Road Wednesday. The artwork titled Ascension built by blacksmith artist and sculptor Michael Dillon stands 10 feet tall, 26 feet wide and weighs 3 tons.

The city of Duluth held a public art unveiling in the middle of the roundabout on McClure Bridge Road Wednesday. The artwork titled Ascension built by blacksmith artist and sculptor Michael Dillon stands 10 feet tall, 26 feet wide and weighs 3 tons.