Mall Of America celebrates Earth Day by unveiling large-scale butterfly art installation

By | April 19, 2019

BLOOMINGTON, Minn. — Mall of America will celebrate Earth Day on April 22 by unveiling a large-scale art installation created by artist Christopher Lutter-Gardella that explores eco-consciousness and resourcefulness. Entitled “Kaleidoscope”, the installation will feature a majestic 30-foot Monarch butterfly surrounded by more than 300 smaller butterflies of varying size. Suspending from the Atrium skylight at the North entrance to Mall of America, the piece shares the critical story about the decline of the monarch butterfly and other pollinators. 

True to the artist’s passion for environmental sustainability, Kaleidoscope was created predominately from waste-stream materials such as plastic bags, straws, plastic spoons, coat hangers and more, and is designed to be reused. A key goal for the artist is to educate guests on the importance of pollinators and how they can make a difference to help address the declining population. 

“This installation draws attention to the crisis of our pollinator populations and the habitats they rely upon,” said artist Christopher Lutter-Gardella. “Butterflies are not just pretty insects on which we should dote, but are part of the life-stream essential to our very survival.” 

To create Kaleidoscope, Lutter-Gardella used a unique combination of commonly discarded materials, including more than 700 coat hangers, 600 tasting spoons, 800 yards of fabric and 100 yards of window screen material. Hundreds of volunteers worked with the artist to hand create every one of the 372 butterflies that surround the Monarch centerpiece. 

“Hearing Christopher’s story and approach to how he creates using recyclable materials made this partnership a natural fit,” said Jill Renslow, SVP of Business Development and Marketing at Mall of America. “Since we opened our doors in 1992, Mall of America has led the industry with sustainability practices. Not only will this installation be a beautiful welcome for our millions of guests who walk through our doors, but it will also help share the important message about protecting the monarch butterfly and other pollinators.”  

Mall of America has been committed to environmental sustainability since opening more than 25 years ago. The Mall relies on 1.2 miles of skylights for solar energy, and residual heat from light fixtures and body heat from 40 million annual visitors to maintain the comfortable 70-degree indoor temperature. It recycles 32,000 tons of materials each year, and diverts 2,400 tons of food waste to local livestock. It also releases thousands of ladybugs throughout 30,000 live plants throughout the building instead of utilizing pesticides. 

Kaleidoscope will be on display in the North Atrium through August 2019.