Ron Benson of Duluth presented the library with a hand-carved glass sculpture depicting a stylized surge of water spiraling upward from which a figure emerges, book in hand. (Water Sprite? According to author Lise Lunge-Larsen in “The Hidden Folk,” river sprites live behind waterfalls.) The glass itself is recycled from windows of the former Two Harbors High School. Ron looks at this as a fresh and positive way to promote sustainability, especially since recycling plants do not accept window glass. His goal is to create eco-friendly art that enhances the quality of space in which people inhabit. Ron’s glass molding process can be viewed on YouTube by searching Ron Benson Waves of Glass. Also viewable online, “Breaking the Mold of Business as Usual,” an article in Living North of the Duluth News Tribune 2008, features Ron’s work.
This wonderful art comes to Babbitt through the Minnesota Clean Water, Land, and Legacy funds which promote the arts and Minnesota artists. In November 2008, Minnesotans passed the clean water, land, and legacy amendment to the Minnesota Constitution. Proceeds from the arts and cultural heritage fund “may be spent only on arts, arts education and arts access and to preserve Minnesota’s history and cultural heritage.” For the two-year period from July 2009 through June 2011, the Minnesota State Legislature has appropriated a significant portion of the arts and cultural heritage fund to the Minnesota State Arts Board and Minnesota’s eleven regional arts councils. These funds will help make high-quality arts experiences more accessible and available to Minnesotans throughout the state.