Partners commission artists to help realize Ramsey County’s vision for inclusive, welcoming parks

Date: Tuesday, June 20, 2023

Ramsey County and the Metropolitan Council teamed up with five local artists — Andrés Guzmán, CRICE, Marlena Myles, Xee Reiter, and Witt Siasoco — to develop new signage to welcome everyone to Ramsey County and regional parks.

Three of the five artists of color — (from left) Witt Siasoco, Marlena Myles, and CRICE — commissioned to create this signage pose with their work.The partners celebrated the artists and new signage at an event on June 3 at Keller Regional Park. Met Council Member Susan Vento and Ramsey County Board Chair Trista MatasCastillo attended the event to thank the artists for their incredible work.

“When we started this project, we asked how we can be welcoming, how we can create a sense of belonging in more parks,” explained Kris Lencowski, Ramsey County director of park operations. “When we asked the community, they said things like representation, color, and reflecting nature.”

New park and trail signage was developed to give artists of color a prominent voice in the parks and supports the Ramsey County 21st Century Parks Vision.

“This project illustrates the value of park partner agencies, like Ramsey County partnering with the Metropolitan Council,” said Amanda Lovelee, Met Council senior outreach coordinator. “We were able to work together to create something that is bold, transformative, and means something to the community. Imagine what the ecosystem of parks in the region, in the state, and in the country could feel like, if everyone was doing this.”

A woman with button press and stickers at a table in a pavilion.Each artist brought their unique perspective and identity to their design to the project.

“To Dakota people, we see the Earth, as Grandmother Earth, a relative,” said artist Marlena Myles. “So, when I go to the parks, I feel like I am with my relatives. I think everybody should have some connection to the parks.”

Artist Witt Siasoco said, “Seeing a sign in a park that is in your language is something that feels welcoming. It’s something that can be refreshing and maybe take you by surprise.”

Newly designed park-use kiosks featuring new maps and artwork are installed at all parks in the Ramsey County system. Each sign brings a unique and vibrant lens to the traditional park sign.

The artist stands at open bus door; bus is fully wrapped with patterns and shapes and words “We are on Dakota land.”Lovelee noted that to spread awareness of the project, Metro Transit wrapped a bus with Marlena Myles’ design.

This project puts a piece of art in every single Ramsey County Park, and that art gives voice to people of color, to people who don’t always feel comfortable in parks. When someone can see themselves in parks, it helps create a sense of belonging.

Activities in the regional parks

More about the artists

Posted In: Parks

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