The sculpture gardens of the North High Bridge Park
On Saturday, November 2, 2002 Green Chair II rose in the park. The first chair fell victim to untreated materials and was removed July 2. As with the first, Joel Sisson built the Chair with the assistance of neighbors and helpers.
The first Chair was installed October 1, 1995. The decision to add it to the park was made by a group of neighbors September 9 as a publicity piece for the Green Chair Project. The sculpture was on exhibit at the Walker Art Center before being moved and re-assembled in our park. There were four of the over-sized chairs in various parts of the Twin Cities.
The first construction took approximately three hours for the team of thirteen inner city youth and staff of the Green Chair Project and Two or More program to re-assemble the chair.
This St. Paul landmark occupies a prominent location on the bluffs of the Mississippi River. Often one finds children of all ages climbing up and over. The chair, in its setting of crab apple trees is a photo opportunity, inviting senior citizens and high school seniors to climb into its warm and memorable embrace to capture celebratory moments.
The Green Chair Project was begun in 1991 by
Jonathan Sisson, Director, and Chris Hand.
The stretch of Pleasant Avenue, Minneapolis, on which they lived was known as a crack street, a haven for crime, filled with young people with nothing to do but get into trouble. Sisson and Hand put many of these young people to work building 90 Adirondack Chairs which they gave away to everyone in the neighborhood.
The Green Chair Project has given inner city youth the opportunity to learn responsible work habits, leadership, and business skills through making and marketing these chairs each summer. They teamed up with Two or More, a North Minneapolis program that helps young people develop leadership and work skills to create positive, productive lives for themselves. The group which re-assembled the chair in the park consisted of four youth of African, and seven youth of Asian, descent. A foundation of sand was installed underneath to soften "falls".
The North High Bridge Park Task Force of the District 9 Community Council/West 7th Fort Road Federation received a $5,000 grant from St. Paul's Cultural STAR program to both replace the deteriorating Green Chair with pressure-treated wood, and install the baptismal gate from St. Stanislaus Catholic Church. Total project costs are estimated at $20,000. Additional grants received include $500 from the St. Paul Riverfront Corporation, $2500 from the Abraham & Lillian Rosenberg Foundation (New York), and a Metropolitan Regional Arts Council grant of $8,500. Two fund raisers supported the project: a "dance" at the CSPS Hall and a historical booklet "Gateway to a New World" that celebrated contributions of the Czech immigrants in Saint Paul and Minnesota.