Regent, North Dakota.
This week, Patti Moed asks us to consider sharing images of street art. She writes, “This week, we invite you to join us for LAPC #170: Street Art. Show us your captures of street art in places near and far.” You will find her challenge post and example images here.
When I first thought about the many images of street art I’ve captured, it ran the gamut of statuary in Washington, D.C., to graffiti-filled train cars, to buskers plying their trade live in front of their audience, sculpting, playing music, doing magic, or even an artist in Boulder Colorado who did an aerial act on a ladder being held vertical by passers-by using ropes to hold it steady.
Instead, I decided to share a photo story about a highway in North Dakota. It’s a 30-minute drive (if you don’t stop to admire the street art), from the Gladstone exit on I-94 south to the city of Regent, North Dakota. Traveling westbound on I-94, you will see this giant sculpture of geese flying across a golden North Dakota Sunset. When you get there, take exit 72 north and make an immediate right turn into the small park where you can read about the Enchanted Highway and its larger-than-life sculptures made from scrap metal.
“Geese in Flight” is 90 feet (27 m) high and certified by Guinness as the World’s Largest Outdoor Sculpture. The opening photo, however, is probably my favorite. It’s called The Tin Family.
Drive south on the highway back across the Interstate bridge toward the city of Gladstone, just a mile (2 km) or so south of the Interstate. Continue south through the city and be ready to locate the next sculpture built along the highway. There are many more than I am sharing here in this post. I included this photo of Grasshoppers in the field to help you gauge the size of these sculptures. That short fence in front of the grasshopper is made with the typical 3-4 foot (1 m) fence posts. In addition to the single large grasshopper, there are several smaller grasshoppers nearby. Each sculpture features a theme of North Dakota life, and each has a nearby parking area.
Probably the most elaborate sculpture is Fisherman’s Dream. The under-lake view of a lunker fish attempting to capture a dragonfly with a fisherman on a boat looks on. Under the water, there are several large fish and a sunken fishing boat. The complexity of this sculpture is nothing short of amazing.
To help you gauge the size of this piece of street art, that sunken boat is large enough for kids to climb on. Gary is no “kid”, but he’s a kid at heart, anyway, and he was kind enough to get on the boat to show off the scale of this set of sculptures.
In total, there are seven sculptures along the route, all built by Gary Greff, a resident of Regent and retired schoolteacher who has lived and worked in Regent for many years. Each sculpture represents some aspect of North Dakota. Mr. Greff has more sculptures underway and, even in his seventies, he continues to grow the enchanted highway.
At Regent, you can stay at the Enchanted Castle, a converted school building that is now a hotel, or you can buy miniature versions of these sculptures in the gift shop. If you’d like to stay in the Enchanted Castle, at this time of Covid, it would be best to check for availability. Their website is active and has contact information.
I have posted the images from our travels down the Enchanted Highway to my Flickr account, and you can see the entire album collection here. Alternatively, you can pixel peep at any single image by clicking on it to view it on my Flickr site.
Thanks again to Patti for giving me the opportunity to share a unique collection of public art on the Enchanted Highway in western North Dakota.