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Sculpture by late renowned artist Richard Hunt featured outside Thrivent's downtown Minneapolis office.
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Sculpture by late renowned artist Richard Hunt graces the Thrivent Corporate Center plaza

Seen the sculpture outside Thrivent’s downtown Minneapolis office? Learn more about this stainless steel structure and its artist, Richard Hunt.

Like much of downtown Minneapolis, the plaza outside Thrivent’s then-newly constructed Corporate Center sat largely empty through most of 2020 and 2021. But then one morning in October 2021, a semitrailer pulled up carrying something to bring the plaza to life.

Its cargo?

A new, cornerstone piece in the Thrivent Art Collection: a stainless-steel sculpture whose curving forms reach more than 20 feet in the air and whose elevated round base invites people to sit and engage with the piece.

The sculpture, titled Rising, was created by the late Richard Hunt, one of the most influential American sculptors of the 20th and 21st centuries. It is Minnesota’s only permanent public installation by this iconic artist.

“I am happy to have a piece of mine now in the Twin Cities,” said Hunt in 2021, who traveled from Chicago to Minneapolis for the sculpture’s installation. “The idea of having a permanent installation in such a prominent place downtown ... is something that is of pride and interest to me.”

You can learn more about Hunt and the sculpture in the video below (11 min.)—from inception to installation.

A reflection of Thrivent’s Values

Bringing the piece to life took several years and involved many people, from Thrivent leaders to building architects and structural engineers.

Hunt’s expressive abstract work fits Thrivent’s culture, where staying curious and welcoming diverse perspectives are core to the organization’s values.

With an understanding of Thrivent’s history and future, Hunt designed a sculpture that was both grounded and formidable, as well as energetic and dynamic.

“I enjoyed being involved in the process of this sculpture’s design from the very beginning,” said Thrivent President and CEO Terry Rasmussen, who attended the sculpture’s installation. “But seeing the completed piece in person and hosting Richard for the installation was a truly spectacular experience.”

Connection to the community

The sculpture, which has a circular base and no dedicated front or back, invites people to engage with it—by viewing it from different angles, sitting at its base for lunch or discussing it with friends and colleagues.

The sculpture’s outdoor location was important to both Thrivent and Hunt.

“Through the Thrivent Art Collection, we have a longstanding commitment to the arts and our community,” said Joanna Reiling Lindell, director and curator of Thrivent’s art collections. “The sculpture’s placement on the entrance plaza serves as an extension of the Corporate Center into the surrounding neighborhood.”

Hunt favored outdoor sculpture for its accessibility and how people are welcomed to interact with his art.

“One of the things I like about sculptures in public places as opposed to sculptures in museums is that you can touch them,” he said. “Passersby might be walking by and run their hands over it.”

Hunt’s background

Hunt’s career spanned more than seven decades, starting when he attended the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He was already exhibiting his sculptures nationwide while he was still a student. And in 1962, he was the youngest artist to exhibit at the Seattle World’s Fair.

He went on to be the first African American sculptor to have a major solo exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York in 1971, and he received many awards and recognitions throughout his career. Today, Hunt’s work can be found in museums and public and private collections across the country. In February 2022, Hunt was the first to be announced as one of the commissioned artists for the Obama Presidential Center.

Until his passing in December 2023, he maintained a thriving studio practice—mentoring artists and passing knowledge and inspiration on to the next generation.

“Hunt’s impressive legacy is just one reason why his work is an inspiring way to invite people into the Minneapolis Corporate Center," Joanna said. “His warm personality, humility and passion for his work made him a truly remarkable artist and human being. We are thrilled to share this sculpture as an extension of Thrivent into the community.”

The creation & installation of Richard Hunt's 'Rising'