‘Cave People’ sculptures, lighting displays at DL City Park aimed at getting people out to enjoy winter – Detroit Lakes Tribune

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‘Cave People’ sculptures, lighting displays at DL City Park aimed at getting people out to enjoy winter – Detroit Lakes Tribune

DETROIT LAKES – The Detroit Lakes Police Department put out a Facebook post on Dec. 29, alerting the public that they “received a call for service regarding a suspicious block of ice” in the Detroit Lakes City Park.

The tongue-in-cheek post was actually a clever promotion for a new public art exhibit initiated by Project 412, a Detroit Lakes-based nonprofit founded late last year with the goal of helping the community to become “the best place to visit, live, work, start a business, start a family.”

Project 412 served as the connection to bring the “Cave People” art exhibit to the city park this winter, in conjunction with an evening display of illuminated trees surrounding the Pavilion. Two sculptures are included in the art exhibit, depicting what appear to be prehistoric cavemen encased in a block of ice.

Dubbed “Zug Zug,” the original caveman show was the brainchild of Twin Cities artists Zach Schumack and Ian Molloy-Busse, who are part of the Leonic Art Collective. Zug Zug was originally hired about four years ago, Schumack said, for a marketing opportunity for ad agencies.

“I’ve worked with Zach on some projects in the past,” said Molloy-Busse. “Then one day, out of the blue, he called me and said, ‘I need a caveman in a block of ice.’

Local volunteers helped artists Zach Schumack and Ian Molloy-Busse move their “Zara” sculpture to her new home on the northeast side of Detroit Lakes City Park on Thursday, Dec. 29, 2022.

Contributed / Project 412

And so Zug Zug was born. The life-size sculpture was very popular with the event attendees, Schumack said, but after the four-hour event concluded, the sculpture sat in his garage taking up space for about a year — and then the COVID-19 pandemic hit. One night, as Schumack and his friends were sitting around his house talking about the sculpture and what he should do with it, they came up with the idea of ​​making it a fun outdoor display.

The idea, Schumack said, was for the sculpture to get people outside and exploring nature. “No one was going out or exploring or doing anything, and the news was very divisive,” he said, “so I thought, I’ve got this frozen caveman sitting in my garage … let’s do something fun.”

Schumack, Molloy-Busse and their Leonic Collective worked with the Minneapolis Park and Rec Board to hide Zug Zug in Theodore Wirth Park; the show was so popular that when Schumack suggested to a local media outlet that he had the idea to create a female companion for Zug Zug, a search began for the caveman’s mate – before there was one to to find!

“I went to my friend Ian again and said, ‘We need to build a new female sculpture as soon as possible,'” Schumack recalls, adding that Ian created the second sculpture “on the fly.”

Molloy-Busse said the sculptures “are based on mannequins, with additional sculptures made from clay and natural animal furs, bones and fibers.” The cavemen were encased in fake ice, which Schumack created using “cubes of Plexiglas, multiple layers of epoxy resin. and other techniques.”

After Zara in St. Paul’s Crosby Farm Park, the two images went viral again, with stories about them appearing all over local news and social media. “I think every news outlet in the Twin Cities did something,” Schumack said. “The goal was to get people talking, to get people to go out and explore nature, and these pieces certainly did that.”

Zara and Baby Eye.jpg

Artist Zach Schumack checks to make sure the Zara and Baby Eye sculpture is nestled snugly in the snow at Detroit Lakes City Park on Thursday, Dec. 29, 2022.

Contributed / Project 412

“Everybody felt trapped, and I think it was just a great thing for people to do safely outside,” Molloy-Busse added.

Schumack said his favorite part of the project was watching small children discover the cavemen. “I was talking to a little kid, and he realized that it wasn’t an actual, real caveman,” Schumack said. “He was like, ‘Wait, what? It’s not real?’ and you could see the look of a blown mind. I think that’s what art is supposed to do. It’s supposed to make you wonder and guess and talk about it.”

Now the sculptures have found a temporary winter home in Detroit Lakes, with Zug Zug displayed near the Pavilion, roughly where the sailboat sculpture used to sit, while Zara can be found on the other side of the park, near North Shore Drive. The park is also lit up with strings of holiday lights, similar to past Polar Fest displays created for the “MN Sn’Ice” Ice Palace and Sculpture Park.

“Miller Yard Care and Construction hung 21,750 feet of wire, and 7,300 bulbs to illuminate the roof lines of the gazebo and about 15 trees between it and Washington Avenue. “That’s more than four miles of wire, and we’re excited to share to be part of the project,” said Josh Miller of Miller Yard Care and Construction, which worked with Malstrom Electric to create the exhibit.

“Helping add some winter magic to City Park is a fun way to give back to the community,” said Garrett Malstrom of Malstrom Electric. The Detroit Lakes-based electrical contractor has donated their time for the past five years to light the previous Polar Fest Ice Palace and snow/ice sculpture displays at the park.

Project 412’s role in the project was to serve as a liaison for the various people, businesses and other entities involved, explained Amy Stoller Stearns, the nonprofit’s executive director.

“By connecting people, ideas and resources, we can become a better, stronger and more vibrant community all year round,” she said, adding “We live in the tundra, but it’s beautiful here, and we need people get outside. to enjoy it.”

Stearns noted that she first became involved because of a lunch discussion with her friend, Brook Herzog, who was also friends with Schumack — who happened to be looking for a new winter home for his sculptures.

“She (Brook) told me to meet her friend Zach, so I called him, and the rest is history. I’m kind of into quirky, fun, interesting things and cavemen in the park in the winter…how cool is that? It was right up my alley,” Stearns said, adding that she and Schumack both had similar ideas about how “art can bring people together and inspire them.”

“He (Zach) is a great person, and he has a lot of great ideas,” Stearns said.

The sculptures and light show will soon share space with the second annual “Polar-try Poetry Walk,” which opens during Detroit Lakes’ 2023 Polar Fest celebration, which runs Feb. 10-26.

The sculptures, lights and eventually poetry displays will remain in the City Park until the end of Polar Fest. The Detroit Lakes City Park is located at 1361 Washington Ave., near the lake. Follow along with this and future Project 412 events at www.project412mn.org, or check out @project412mn on Facebook and Instagram.

To learn more about the people and businesses involved in the project, check out MalstromElectricInc.com, MillerYardCareandConstruction.com and leonic.org.

A woolly mammoth at Detroit Mountain?

Stearns said Schumack, Molloy-Busse and their Leonic Collective will be back in Detroit Lakes on Jan. 16 to begin work on a new sculpture project at Detroit Mountain Recreation Area. However, this project will be a permanent structure that will be part of the mountain’s natural playground.

“It’s huge — 8 feet wide by 20 feet long and 12 feet high,” she said. “It will take about two weeks (to build), if the weather is good. But we’re going to need some volunteers to help with this.”

Anyone interested in being a part of this project should contact Stearns by email at [email protected]

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