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1914 Annual Report Board of Park Commissioners cover

David C. Smith | Arts and Parks : Culture & Beauty on the Frontier

It is no surprise that the Minneapolis Society of Fine Arts and the Minneapolis Board of Park Commissioners were created the same year—1883—as some of the same energetic and visionary people were behind both organizations. William Watts Folwell and Charles M. Loring, the two most influential park commissioners in the park board’s groundbreaking first couple of decades, were also, respectively, president and vice-president of the Society of Fine Arts. Arts and parks were deemed equally important building blocks of a progressive and prosperous city, which helps explain why the MIA was built in a park and funded partly through the park board’s taxing authority. These mutual goals would prompt many other park advocates and patrons of the arts to combine forces, including folks with the familiar names of Pillsbury, Gale, Morrison, and Bradstreet.

David C. Smith, a Minneapolis writer, will explore the connections between arts and parks in Minneapolis history in surprising detail. Smith, the author of City of Parks: The Story of Minneapolis Parks, writes about local history at

To register, call (612) 870-6323 or reserve online.

1914 Annual Report Board of Park Commissioners cover