Bob Dylan’s hometown of Hibbing, Minn., lacks a prominent public monument to the songwriter and singer who was awarded the Nobel Prize in literature last year.
But a group of local Dylan boosters is taking steps to change that.
The Hibbing school board earlier this month approved the concept for a proposed work of public art honoring Dylan to be placed in front of Hibbing High School, where he graduated with the Class of 1959 as Robert Zimmerman.
The Hibbing Dylan Project hopes to raise $100,000 for the artwork but first needed the school board’s permission to put it on school grounds.
“We are really happy that the school board has approved the location for the project so we can move forward,” said Craig Hattam, a member of the project committee.
“You could argue that Bob was the most influential musician of the second half of the 20th century. So finding a way to honor his work is part of what we’re hoping to do with this — and to inspire young people.”
Renderings of the proposed artwork show a curved wall on a plaza shaped like a guitar pick in front of the high school. In the center of the plaza will be a bronzed, bentwood chair like the ones found in the high school during the 1950s and ’60s.
“The chair is an open invitation for students to dream, wonder and aspire to carry on the tradition that Dylan started in Hibbing,” Hattam said. The plaza also will serve as an open-air stage and educational space for music, speeches and poetry readings.
Hattam said the only current public tribute to Dylan is a small timeline in the basement of the local library. The city once held an annual “Dylan Days” celebration, but that dried up a few years ago.
Hattam, a former teacher, volunteers as a Hibbing tour guide. He said visitors often are surprised at the lack of tributes to the town’s most famous native.
“I’ve met a lot of Dylan people, and they’re always kind of hoping there would be more,” he said.
For more information on the project, visit hibbingdylanproject.org.
Minnesota’s other Nobel Prize laureate in literature hasn’t fared so well. Last year, Sauk Centre closed its Sinclair Lewis Interpretive Center, saying it planned to sell the valuable property fronting Interstate 94 for a chain store.
John Reinan • 612-673-7402