Sculpture reveal highlight of ‘Light a Spark’

Work honoring Huelsmann part of holiday fundraiser


Art and fireworks highlight the Stillwater Public Library Foundation’s annual Fourth of July fundraiser Light a Spark.

Kinji Akagawa, local artist and educator, unveils his newest sculpture, a work commissioned by the Huelsmann Foundation, in memory of Richard Huelsmann, community leader and philanthropist. In addition to many projects throughout Stillwater, Huelsmann was a driving force in the library’s 2005-2006 renovation and expansion project.

WA winner of numerous awards and fellowships, Akagawa is best known for sculptural constructions that serve a practical function and celebrate the connection between art and community. His work is noted for refined elegance and use of natural materials. For the Richard Huelsmann Memorial Sculpture, Akagawa is using Minnesota granite and rock from the St. Croix Valley to create low tables and stools where people can contemplate the beauty of the St. Croix River or meet and interact with others.

Akagawa is professor emeritus at MCAD. Locally, his sculptures are found on Nicollet Mall, in the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden at the Walker Art Center, the Lyndale Park Peace Garden and at Normandale Community College.

“It is a rare privilege to have work by an internationally renowned artist as a permanent installation in the community,” said Lynne Bertalmio, library director, reflecting on this generous gift to the library and to the community.

Light a Spark, hosted and emceed by KSTP 5 Eyewitness News anchor Bill Lunn, is a family-friendly event that includes music, magic, and sweet and savory treats by Chef Per Carver of Kowalski’s Catering. Also featured are a giant cake walk with cakes from local bakeries, a cash bar featuring specially selected wines by Swirl and the fireworks.

Light a Spark is from 7 to 11 p.m., with the sculpture unveiling at 8. Space is limited and advance registration is required. Tickets are $35 for adults and teenagers, $20 for children ages 5 to 12 (under 5 are free) and can be purchased online at or by calling 651-275-4338 extension 130.