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Local artist begins sculpture project at UM Morris

Bemidji-based sculptor Duane Goodwin, right, oversees the installation of a stone on the University of Minnesota Morris campus where he will carve a statue. Submitted photo.

MORRIS -- Within the next few days, Bemidji-based artist Duane Goodwin will begin the process of making a permanent mark on the University of Minnesota Morris.  

The university commissioned Goodwin to sculpt a statue on the school’s campus, and a ceremony was held on Friday to launch the project after the stone was set in place.

“The ceremony included the blessing of the rock,” Goodwin said.

The statue will depict a boy, a girl and a grandmother figure. According to Jenna Ray, a university representative, the statue will be located just across from the Multi-Ethnic Resource Center which is the “last remaining building from the boarding school era.”

“The boy represents the boarding school era; he’s dressed in clothing from that period; the girl represent the future of Native people, and they look in opposite directions,” Ray said.

Goodwin expects the piece to be complete by August or September. He is working on the project with two assistants, and he estimated they could work as long as eight to 10 hours a day.

According to Goodwin, the stone, which was transported from Winona, weighs 18,000 pounds and is approximately 4 by 8 feet. The university has installed a camera for viewers to track the progress of the sculpture throughout the summer.

The project initially began in 2015 when a couple of donors approached the university about the possibility. Ray declined to disclose how much the donation for the project totaled.  

In addition to actually sculpting the stone, Goodwin designed the piece after discussing the project’s concept with the donors.

“The sculpture symbolizes the plight of the Native American, from a traditional people to an assimilated, but still proud, people,” Goodwin wrote in his artist statement.

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