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Figurines land in the lobby of Rochester airport

By Sarah Shonyo

Post-Bulletin, Rochester MN

The Rochester International Airport has added a dash of color and a pinch of culture to its decor.

ARTPORT, a creation by Scott Stulen, a local artist and former associate curator of the Rochester Art Center, is three vinyl figurines decorated in a tribute of sorts to a few of Rochester’s more demonstrative icons. Specifically, the figures represent a physician, two geese and Seneca’s ear of corn water tower. They were unveiled at the end of April.

After being approached by Mayor Ardell Brede with the idea of adding some art to the Rochester airport, Stulen came up with his creations.

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"I volunteered to take on this project because I thought it’d be a fun experience," Stulen said. "I think the result ended up being pretty representative of my work and style."

This particular project required around 30 hours of work for each figurine. Stulen admits the awkward shapes made the process of painting slightly difficult.

Although artwork and airports don’t often exist in the same breath, the new display — located in the main lobby of the terminal building where arriving passengers see it as they leave security — has garnered a generally positive response by visitors and employees alike.

"I think people like to look at different kinds of art," Rochester International Airport manager Steven Leqve said.

Stulen and Leqve anticipate the ARTPORT collection will be on display well into 2009. However, even once the current display is removed, Leqve hopes to replace it with something new.

"It’d be nice to change the artwork every now and then," he said. "I don’t want to see it end with the current display."

Stulen, a Spicer, Minn., native who earned his bachelor’s degree in sculpture from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and master’s degree in drawing and painting from the University of Minnesota, has had his art displayed in exhibits across the Midwest.

The artist, who recently accepted a position as a project director for Minneapolis-based mnartists.org, has donated the figurines to the Rochester Art Center to be displayed or auctioned once they leave the terminal.

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Sarah Shonyo is a Rochester freelance writer.

For more information, go to Postbulletin.com/weblinks.

Rochester Art Center http://rochesterartcenter.org/

Scott Stulen http://scottstulen.com/work.htm

Rochester International Airport http://www.rochesterintlairport.com/

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