Stillwater Mayor Ted Kozlowski flew to Washington, D.C., to deliver a special gift to Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar.
Kozlowski, accompanied by Mike Wilhelmi, former executive director of the Coalition for the St. Croix River Crossing, presented Klobuchar an oil painting by Stillwater artist Erik Sletten on Tuesday. The art depicts the new St. Croix River bridge and the Stillwater Lift Bridge.
Kozlowski said he commissioned “On the Edge of a New Golden Age” earlier this year in anticipation of the Aug. 2 opening of the new bridge.
“I had photographers try to get a photo, but the bridges are just not close enough,” Kozlowski said. “In looking at the distance and the space between the bridges, you really needed an artist. Erik was the perfect guy. We wanted something that would be fun and positive and whimsical.”
Sletten’s style — “landscape expressionism” — means he can play with scale, Kozlowski said. “Things are out of proportion, but it allows him to put emphasis on different things.”
Klobuchar was not able to attend the bridge opening in August.
Said Klobuchar in a Tuesday statement to the Pioneer Press: “The St. Croix River Crossing Bridge, along with the incredible people, businesses, and atmosphere, is a big part of what makes Stillwater such a favored destination for Minnesotans from all over. Through the hard work of state local officials and my bipartisan legislation, we were able build a safer, more efficient bridge that meets the needs of the region. Thank you to Mayor Kozlowski for bringing this beautiful piece of Stillwater to Washington — I can’t wait to share it with everyone who visits my office.”
Kozlowski and Wilhelmi flew to Washington at their own expense to deliver the painting, Kozlowski said.
He said the trip may have been timed to coincide with the Minnesota Vikings game in the nation’s capital on Sunday.