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Published April 29 2013

Public art pops up in downtown Fargo

FARGO – Colorful origami cranes, a shiny collection of sequins and a tree full of small canvas paintings all brightened up downtown here on Monday.

The three displays were part of a collection of anonymous art installations created by students in a 3-D design course at North Dakota State University. The art was placed around the downtown area on Monday morning.

Chelsea Thorson, who teaches the course, said the displays were for an urban intervention project that seeks to add an element of interactivity to downtown.

“It’s a project that looks at design as a way of engaging downtown Fargo,” she said.

This is the second semester Thorson has taught the course.

Last semester, her students placed their displays mostly around Island Park, but this time she said there was a desire to move into the downtown area.

“Everyone in the class just really loves downtown Fargo, and so that’s why we decided to do it there,” Thorson said.

Students were asked to find empty or overlooked spots in the area between Island Park and Fifth Avenue North. Those who placed their art on buildings received permission from the property owners beforehand, Thorson said.

After installing the displays, students were also required to linger nearby to observe how pedestrians interacted with it.

“It’s really cool to see passers-by and how they react,” Thorson said.

“We’ve already gotten a really good response so far.”

Monday’s sunny and spring-like weather helped ensure that people were actually out and about to view the art, Thorson added.

“It’s good that we had good weather, finally,” she said.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Sam Benshoof at (701) 241-5535