The Gathering Bridge is Eden Prairie’s first significant public art installation, located in Purgatory Creek Park. Created by artist/designer Teri K. Kwant, the bridge was dedicated Oct. 9, 2004, in honor of the late Mayor Jean Harris.
The 45-foot-long structure includes a circular center space with granite panels containing questions inspired by Mayor Harris’ well-known Ten Lessons of Life. Twenty glass panels are sandblasted with African Adinkra symbols [PDF] that speak to personal and social values that were important to Dr. Harris. It blends both function and beauty to create great meaning for those who encounter it. The bridge provides a unique opportunity to highlight the responsibility we all share for open community dialogue and honoring diversity.
The Gathering Bridge represents the values Mayor Harris stood for, including her commitment to always wanting to help others, giving to her community, bringing consensus to difficult issues, promoting diversity, encouraging others to get involved and keeping things in perspective. She had a quiet ability to motivate those around her to excellence in public service. The Gathering Bridge is intended to educate people about her gifts and her accomplishments and to inspire them to follow her example.
Purgatory Creek Park provides the ideal venue for The Gathering Bridge. This is where Mayor Harris envisioned a new downtown for Eden Prairie that would unite residents and businesses by providing recreational opportunities. Mayor Harris toured the Purgatory Creek Park site one week before her death to learn how the site would look upon its completion.