We are excited to announce that Visit Greater Grand Forks has a new addition: Amber Waves-of-Grain is our recently updated work of (public) art!

Made of recycled metal and concrete, this six-foot tall “blue head” planter first arrived at the Visitors Center nearly a decade ago. It was originally re-painted by talented local artist Billy Rerick. As typically happens to all of us sooner or later, this grande dame was due for a little facelift.

When the time came to find a new artist, Executive Director Julie Rygg decided that instead of outsourcing this task, she would stay very close to home. In one of our always productive staff meetings, Marketing Coordinator Alicia Van Eps volunteered herself, along with her mother (Carol Egeland) and aunt (Linda Conneran), for this huge undertaking. Even though neither Alicia nor her family are trained artists, they are all very creative and felt motivated to give it a try. Just like that, Team Amber was formed!

“Agriculture is basically in my blood, so it was obvious to me that if I was going to paint something, especially with my mom’s help, it needed to be something ag related,” stated Alicia. “Growing up, I loved riding in the combine with my dad during wheat harvest. I have always loved the look and color of wheat, especially the extra glow and golden look it gets during evening hours of sunset. The sunsets around here are incredibly stunning and peaceful; my favorite time of the day, especially when riding in a field or walking on a gravel road. Inspired by America the Beautiful, along with the wheat and beautiful sunset colors, Amber Waves-of-Grain was given a proper name. Amber is adorned with red tractor earrings because of course, she needed that pop of color to match her plump lips. The team initially planned to have the wheat grow up onto her face but after finishing Amber’s face hue, we all thought she was too pretty to hide. Instead, we decided to go with a frillier high collared shirt look with the wheat.”

Y’all are invited to stop by the Visitors Center (4251 Gateway Drive) and check out our grand new gal. If you decide to take some selfies, please feel free to post your pics on our Visit Greater Grand Forks Facebook and Instagram pages using the hashtag #AmberWavesOfGrainGF. At the end of October, we’ll select a favorite photo and bestow upon the winner a $100 gift card!