Find the falcons: Sculptures on tour as part

Falcon sculptures by three local artists are on tour at St. Croix Valley libraries as part of this year’s National Endowment for the Arts Big Read, centered on Dashiell Hammett’s “The Maltese Falcon.” (Submitted photo)
Falcon sculptures by three local artists are on tour at St. Croix Valley libraries as part of this year’s National Endowment for the Arts Big Read, centered on Dashiell Hammett’s “The Maltese Falcon.” (Submitted photo)

In “The Maltese Falcon” by Dashiell Hammett, the sculpture at the heart of the story is rumored to be of immeasurable value — encrusted with valuable jewels but disguised by non-descript black enamel. The statue is coveted by every major character in the book. So much so, they are willing to kill for it.

As part of National Endowment for the Arts Big Read in the St. Croix Valley, ArtReach St. Croix asked three local artists to create sculptures based on their interpretation of “The Maltese Falcon.” These three sculptures will be on view as a traveling installation at nine St. Croix Valley libraries.

The falcons were created by Barbara Riegel Bend of Roberts, Alan Honn of Shafer and James Shoop of St. Croix Falls.

“ArtReach sees the NEA Big Read in the St. Croix Valley as an opportunity to create multi-disciplinary art programing around an incredible piece of literature,” said Heather Rutledge, ArtReach St. Croix’s executive director.

The installation, which began its tour on Monday, March 6, at the Osceola Public Library, features a bronze sculpture by Shoop honoring the hard-boiled detective novel, a fiber and mixed media falcon ready to take flight by Bend, and a blown glass triptych by Honn featuring a fedora, falcon and gun.

Sculptures will be on view during normal business hours at each location.

For more information about NEA Big Read in the St. Croix Valley and a full list of events happening in March and April, visit ValleyReads.org.

ArtReach St. Croix announced in May 2016 that it was one of 77 organizations nationwide to receive a grant to host NEA Big Read, a program of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest. This year, programming will focus on themes related to the noir classic “The Maltese Falcon.” As a regional arts agency serving the lower St. Croix Valley, ArtReach is working in collaboration with arts organizations and libraries throughout the six county region to provide a range of activities associated with featured book. Theatre, music, visual arts, book discussion and other activities will take place in April 2017.

Library tour schedule

• Monday, March 6, to Saturday, March 11, at Osceola Public Library

• Monday, March 13, to Saturday, March 18, at Hudson Area Public Library

• Monday, March 20, to Saturday, March 25, at Amery Area Public Library

• Monday, March 27, to Saturday, April 1, at Bayport Public Library

• Monday, April 3, to Sunday, April 9, at Stillwater Public Library

• Monday, April 10, to Saturday, April 15, at Friday Memorial Library in New Richmond

• Monday, April 17, to Saturday, April 22 ,at St. Croix Falls Public Library

• Monday, April 24, to Saturday, April 29, at Pleasant Hill Library in Hastings

• Monday, May 1, to Monday, May 15, at River Falls Public Library