Final Glow Added to Rice Park Design

The new Lightwave installation was officially unveiled to Rice Park donors on June 12.

Sixty friends of the Conservancy, Rice Park Association, and Saint Paul Garden Club gathered at dusk on June 12 to enjoy champagne, strawberries, and the final element of the Rice Park Redesign. The three nonprofit partners collaborated with Saint Paul Parks and Rec to revitalize Rice Park and now manage the park’s maintenance endowment. On a balmy, magical night, they unveiled LightWave – a decorative garland of LED light strands mounted in metal panels, encircling the perimeter of the inner and outer concrete bench of the fountain in Rice Park. The design, created by artist Jeff Bartlett, provides an interplay of light, programmed in a color-changing display, with the intent of a dynamic, engaging feature to draw visitors to the park’s center.

The installation also provides a safe outdoor space by further illuminating the park and the fountain. “The ideas behind LightWave originated decades ago,” said artist Jeff Bartlett, “as I first imagined using light art to enliven the Rice Park Fountain, especially during months when it has no water. The metalwork design incorporates images from water and plant life, central components of the Rice Park landscape, and draws upon historical influences, notably Art Nouveau. I offer LightWave as a labor of love to help further beautify this lovely area of downtown Saint Paul.”

Lighting artist Jeff Bartlett has developed lighting projects for prominent Minnesota buildings, including Landmark Center. He has a long history in the arts, serving as the founding artistic director of Southern Theater and Production Manager/Resident Lighting Designer for the Weitz Center for Creativity at Carleton College.

Funding for “LightWave” was provided by the City of Saint Paul Cultural STAR Program and Percent for Public Art Program, I.A. O’Shaughnessy Foundation, and Margaret H. and James E. Kelley Foundation.