here is more to Coon Rapids than corn fields and bike trails. Public art can be found around the community as well.
Highway 141 – Rotating Ear of Corn | Hybrid Icon | Sculpture Park
Visitors on Highway 141 can find several places to stop and enjoy our art. At the west entrance to town, you’ll find
a historic rotating ear of corn that has been a mainstay in the community dating back to the Garst Seed corn
company era. The rotating ear was originally located at the corner of Fifth Avenue and Highway 141 but was
relocated to make way for the hybrid icons in 2008.
The hybrid icon installment was created by artist David Dahlquist as part of the city’s Great Places streetscaping
project. The hybrid icon consists of three lighted beacons shaped to resemble silo bins with down lighting inside to
illuminate the structure at night. The art was designed to encapsulate Coon Rapids’ rich history of hybrid seed corn
and its evolution into genetics. Contained in the lanterns are symbols of scientific research: cellular structure, protein
building blocks and DNA genomic mapping.
To the east of Coon Rapids, visitors can enjoy a picnic among several unique sculptures at Roadside and Sculpture
Park. Coon Rapids Development Group developed the idea of creating a Sculpture Park along Highway 141 to make
visiting or living in Coon Rapids a more engaging and culturally exciting experience. The first five pieces of art in
2008 were commissioned to local artists and the project grew from there. More installments have been made over
the years with sculptures made of weather resistant materials. In addition to the art, local gardeners have contributed
to the park’s beauty by creating several flower gardens.
Veterans’ Memorial Park Wall
Local artist Stacy Muench was commissioned to paint a mural on the Veterans’ Memorial Park wall on Main Street
in 2018. The mural depicts scenes from WW1, WW2, Korea, Vietnam and the War on Terror along with symbols
of each military branch. Veterans Memorial Park in downtown Coon Rapids honors all Coon Rapids area veterans
beginning with World War One who made the ultimate sacrifice. The centerpiece of the memorial was originally
built in Afghanistan but found its way to Main Street Coon Rapids where it was dedicated in July 2018. The
centerpiece of the park is an Afghanistan memorial – a unique monument that was built by members of a private
logistics support company working in Afghanistan and given to the 375th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion as
a way to show their support and appreciation. The monument was originally constructed at Camp Leatherneck in the
Hellmand Province of Afghanistan to honor five fallen soldiers of the 375th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion.
One of those soldiers was Shawn Muhr of Coon Rapids who died January 29, 2011 when his military truck was
struck by a roadside bomb. Later in 2012 the names of two more fallen soldiers were added. Inspired by the National
9/11 Memorial, the monument consists of a small reflecting pool with fountain, a five-foot-tall Freedom Tower
made out of reinforced concrete covered with mirrored plexiglass and a concrete wall measuring seven feet covered
with black granite.
Chad Elliot Mural
Artist Chad Elliott, a former Coon Rapids resident with deep ties to the community, was commissioned to paint a
landscape mural on the east side of the Mohr Construction and Lumber building on Fifth Avenue near Main Street.
Elliott was inspired by paintings by famous artist Grant Wood. The resulting mural depicts the Middle Racoon
River flowing through the rolling hills south of Coon Rapids.
Let Us Beat Swords into Ploughshares
On Sept. 23, 1959, Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev, spent the day learning about American innovation in agriculture at Roswell Garst’s farmstead in Coon Rapids. The property is now part of the sprawling, 5,500-acre Whiterock Conservancy. In honor of Khruschev’s 1959 visit and Garst’s role in the exchange, a replica of Yevgeny Vuchetich’s statue at the United Nations, Let Us Beat Swords into Ploughshares, was installed and dedicated at the historic farmstead during an anniversary celebration in 2019. Stop by the Whiterock Conservancy Historic Garst Farmstead just east of Coon Rapids at 1390 Hwy 141 to view the replica of Vuchetich’s statue.
Naturally Iowa Grain Bin Gateway
The Naturally Iowa Grain Bin Gateway project is a 360-degree mural commissioned on the side of two grain bins located at the entrance to Coon Rapids downtown at the corner of Highway Street and Sixth Avenue. The concept of the Naturally Iowa Grain Bin Gateway started in 2018 when four volunteers drove around Coon Rapids looking at all the locations in town that would be good fits for large scale art. Click here for a full description.