State Capitol Art

The Minnesota State Capitol is undergoing a major renovation and created an Art Subcommittee to review existing art and discuss adding new art. The Task Force issued a preliminary report. Its final report is expect late June 2016. For more information on the work of the Subcommittee and for links to some of the controversial pieces of art, see the Art Subcommittee’s website.

Healing Minnesota Stories created a petition asking the state to remove some of the most offensive Capitol art and move it to a museum where it could be interpreted. As of May 2016, we had roughly 600 signatures.  Unfortunately, the Art Subcommittee’s preliminary recommendations did not recommend removing any of the art from the Capitol. Moving forward, the big debate is what new art — and new stories — will get added to the Capitol, which will reopen in 2017.


The Petition
We asked the state to:

  1. Remove offensive, traumatizing paintings from the capitol, including: The Discoverers and Civilizers Led to the Source of the Mississippi; Father Hennepin Discovering the Falls of St. Anthony; The Signing of the Treaty of Traverse des Sioux; and The Battle of Killdeer Mountain.
  2. Find a new home for the capitol art that is removed, where it can be remembered and interpreted.
  3. Better interpret the capitol’s remaining historic art, preferably with interactive touch screens.
  4. Provide more in-depth training for capitol tour guides on the art’s history and meaning.
  5. Add new capitol art that reflects and honors Minnesota’s current ethnic and cultural diversity.”

Click here to read more and to sign the online petition.

Learn More
For commentary, including information on art in other state capitols, see our blog on Capitol Art.