Franconia Sculpture Farm

Minnesota's family-friendly outdoor venue offers large-scale installations, art festivals and residency programs

Open year round, Minnesota’s Franconia Sculpture Farm features a rotating cast of contemporary works from emerging American artists. The 20-acre wide outdoor park—located about 45 minutes northeast of the Twin Cities—also offers an artist-in-residency program, where both interns and more established artists utilize the space to create installations and sculptures.

Construction on new projects takes place every year between April and November, and visitors are encouraged to probe and converse with the working artists.

During the summer the park hosts the 3-D Music Festival, inviting musicians to perform family-friendly shows and increasing the community’s exposure to different forms of art.

Empowerment through exposure to the arts is one of the founding traditions of the park, and programs for children and at-risk teens keep it alive. Franconia has collaborated with the Minneapolis programs Kulture Klub and Projects Offstreets in the past, as well as Native American organizations such as Ain Dah Yung and Dream of Wild Health to promote teenage participation in the arts.

A must-see for art lovers, children and travelers alike, they recommend reservations for some of their more popular events (such as the Kids Make Sculpture workshops or the Hot Metal Pour), but the park is open to the public and always free of charge.

photos by Josh Rubin