A public art project to celebrate 100 years of community service.
The Fargo Lions Club celebrated their 100-year anniversary by commissioning a public art piece to commemorate the Spirit of the Sandbagger.
The artwork illustrates and recognizes the efforts of the thousands of volunteers who answered the call to protect our city from devastating floods. A gateway arch was designed, fabricated, and installed between the two pillars at Riverside Gardens.
Prairie Public Broadcasting has produced a compilation video documenting the creation of this artwork. View Video.
Viewing the artwork, you will see represented the many men, women and youth who worked tirelessly to save our communities from flooding. Twenty-four figures fill sandbags and pass them along a line to be placed under the supervision of an area firefighter into a sandbag dike. It is difficult to tell if many of the figures are men or women or youth, dressed as they are in their cool weather gear. Perhaps that figure you are looking at represents YOU?
The completed artwork is now in place for the community to enjoy.
The final pieces come together
The Spirit of the Sandbagger artwork was installed atop the beautiful pillars constructed a few years ago in Riverside Gardens, just East of Fargo City Hall.
During the spring months of 2022, the pillars were engraved with flood level markers and 100- and 500-year flood levels indicated. Bronze plaques describing the community spirit depicted by the artwork and recognizing the artists and the major donors were installed. (See the "Supporters" page of this site for a full list of donors.)
A community celebration to "light up" the artwork is planned for Tuesday evening, May 31, 2022. Come join us if you can at 9:30 p.m. Or tune it to TVFargo.com.
Shown in the below image are the Houston Engineering folks who designed the original pillars along with Lion Mike Benson who envisioned this artwork.
We Invite YOU To Visit the Artwork
The artwork is meant to be visited and seen by every community member and visitors to our community. After all, pretty much EVERYONE helped during sandbagging efforts... whether sandbagging, boxing lunches for sandbaggers, providing transportation, organizing volunteers, creating earthen clay dikes, filling Hesco dikes, providing homes to warm up in, monitoring pumps...
Walk around the sculpture, viewing it from all sides. You will notice markings on the pillars showing how high the water in the very spot you will be standing during the top five flood years. Also shown is how high flood water would be expected to be in a 100-year flood or a 500-year flood, with and without the FM Diversion Project completed. As you consider these levels, glance toward the flood walls just West of this artwork.
Each bronze plaque has its content also provided in braille. Note too the scan code and tag located in the lower right corner of each informational plaque. By scanning these, folks can have the plaque contents read aloud to them on their smart phone. This service is provided by the good people at WayAround at no charge as a contribution toward this important artwork.
The artwork is located along 2nd Street near the river at 1st Avenue North. You may park in the Fargo City Hall south parking lot.