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Exploring Balance in the Heart of the City

Every year Northern Spark showcases such a wealth of projects that it is nearly impossible to see them all. If you miss this year’s winner of the Creative City Challenge Balancing Ground on June 14, don’t panic. This interactive public installation will be available for you to engage with all summer long!

Amanda Lovelee, Sarah West, Christopher Fields, and Kyle Waites, along with the rest of the Balancing Ground team, have worked hard to see this project through to completion.  These four artists shared with us about their experience with and hopes for the project.

Where did your inspiration for Balancing Ground come from?

AL: I am very curious about how and where people gather in contemporary society. As a child I attended a church in  upstate NY where most of the town gathered on Sunday mornings. For me this act was much less about religion and more about gathering.  When Sarah and I started talking about applying for this project we were both very interested in creating an open, scared, and playful gathering space.


SW: In early group conversations during the proposal phase, we found a shared interest in the idea of balance, or more specifically, the feeling of life being out of balance.  In this project we thought it would be interesting -and perhaps uncommon– to combine a few interpretations of physical or experiential balance.


What has working on a project of this magnitude been like?

CKF: Because of the scale and complexity of project, there are a lot of parts and it can be overwhelming to think about making sure they’re all going to come together and work, but we have a great team of collaborators so we just have to let go and trust everyone’s expertise!  Contributions from a whole team of people is one of the strengths of Balancing Ground.


K: Exhausting, sprint, marathon, and tan are my favorite words that get us to now. This project has been all encompassing; it has literally been a part of our every day in some form or another for the last six months. We’ve had to sprint to get things in and figured out, but also form a long term plan that we’ve followed much like running a marathon. Now that we’re finally onsite we’re getting tan because there is no shade and we need to make hay while that sun is shining!


How do you see people interacting with your project?

CKF: I don’t think we found out the meaning of “balance” by making this project, but we did collect some good nuggets for people to contemplate.  I think that’s what we’d like people to do–experience the space and hear different perspectives and start to think.


SW: I hope the installation will draw a variety of activity throughout the summer. I like the idea of creating a space and seeing how others might use it–maybe people spend their lunch break on a bench listening to audio fragments, sharing an acoustic musical performance, or creating an impromptu play on the balancing planks.


A: I hope people get to experience the space both when it is active and also when it is calm; that they get to experience both the play and insight Balancing Ground holds. I am so excited that our seesaws will speak to people and I hope when people use them they have both a smile on their face and a deeper understanding or questioning of balance.


Is there anything else you’d like the Northern Spark audience to know?

K: Balancing Ground is here for the community. It is meant to be used and interacted with, so come back!  It is going to change throughout the hour, day, week, and months that it is up, so use it freely and post your pics with #balancingground on Instagram!


Balancing Ground is located on the Minneapolis Convention Center Plaza and will open to the public on June 14th.  Be sure to check it out and have some fun exploring balance!