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A Song for Water with De Wakpa Taŋka Odowaŋ / Song for the Mississippi River


Artist Name

Ann Hamilton and Dr. Gwen Westerman

Installation Date





The stone pavement, A Song for Water, weaves concepts of time, geography, place, and the beginnings of human cultures with Dr. Gwen Westerman’s poem De Wakpa Tanka Odowan / Song for the Mississippi River. Extending the length of Peace Plaza, the field of relief words invites people moving across its surface to uniquely compose and recompose its narratives in each crossing.

About Heart of the City artwork:

This immersive public plaza has four key artworks that create new ways for visitors to interact with each other in a shared space. With artworks made out of stone, aluminum, bronze, light, water and fog, they create a range of sensory experiences underfoot and above. Water is the common core that anchors each artwork in this life-giving force. A Song for Water, with a shallow pool of water barely covering its raised words, inscribes the terrain of the plaza with poetry associated with the creation of the natural world. Wakefield releases fog at the pool’s edge when a first or last breath is drawn within Mayo Clinic. Two sculptures, the refurbished historic Peace Fountain and newly commissioned A Not So Private Sky, bookend the plaza and are visually and physically connected by a direct line of raised words in the paving stones.

The pulsing heart of these complementary artworks creates a place to pause from the bustle between appointments, to take a break from providing care or to enjoy an afternoon with family and friends. Heart of the City is an invitation to visitors and residents alike to slow down and consider our collective will for peace and healing.


100 1st St SW
Rochester, MN 55902

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