Created By: Minneapolis Downtown Improvement District
The Birth of Freedom, 1976
Cast Bronze Figurative Sculpture
Paul Granlund, Mankato, MN
Westminster Presbyterian Church
Photo: Tom Northenscold
The eighteen-foot-tall bronze sculpture 'The Birth of Freedom' by Paul Granlund was created especially for Westminster Presbyterian Church and dedicated on Reformation Sunday, October 30, 1977. Inspired by the biblical text from Galatians 5:1 'stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage,' the sculpture includes four figures breaking free of a cubic form. A sleeping figure reclines in the base of the cube. Two figures fall backward and spiral outward; one appears to rouse, and another, is ascending. Finally, the top figure breaks free of the cube, achieves a sense of flight, and is awakened to freedom in this symbolic work. The open cube is the reverse of the enclosed box form in some of Granlund’s other sculptures that he considers a death symbol. Granlund’s work is stylistically distinctive and easy to spot. His active and gestural human figures are often symbolic and express spiritual values.
Educated at Gustavus Adolphus College, a noted Lutheran institution in St. Peter, Minnesota, Granlund maintained an artist-in-residence studio there most of his life. During the 60s-70s, he was a faculty member at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design and chairperson of the sculpture department.
Famous for their Westminster Town Hall Forum series since 1950, the church has sponsored more than 250 speakers that explore key issues of the day from an ethical perspective. Recent forums are available on podcast. Among those with Minnesota ties who have appeared are journalist Thomas Friedman, Pixar animator Pete Docter, Vice-President Walter Mondale, and 7th Secretary General of the United Nations Kofi Annan, and national and international figures such as Vice-President Al Gore, travel writer Rick Steves, Palestinian activist Hanan Ashwari and broadcast journalist Tom Brokaw."
This point of interest is part of the tour: Nicollet Public Art Tour