Ode to Gluten

Ode to Gluten

Conception & Construction

Full  double box 400 high         Full beer cans and box         Full card holder       Full gold medal box                                   

Double Click to view larger     Ode  is 2 feet X 2 feet X 7 feet tall. Mixed Media , fabricated clay, rescued artifacts, wood, metal  2011-2013

Fall 2015   Next Appearance:  High Schools Sustainable Acts Project: Art meets Science and changes The World

High School students will join the St. Paul  Sustainable Acts: Mother Earth’s Embrace project which brings artists in conversation with scientists, environmentalists, and with this proposal, high school students, to identify and implement PRACTICAL solutions for concerns about pollution, sustainable agriculture and water quality in St. Paul.

Working with a St. Paul high school art teacher, students will identify an environmental issue of their concern, study  social practice art works of Bridges’ (http://bridgescreate.com), and create their own social practice work which will be shown at the Sustainable Acts: Mother Earth’s Embrace exhibition and then installed at their school.  Students  will also be invited to participate in workshops, panel discussions and paid to act as docents at the exhibition.

Contemporary students often express their belief that “they have no voice”.  This project will provide  students the opportunity to experience the power of collaborative creating.  They will learn that social practice art making informs the makers and the viewers using hard empirical data,   develops community and can also create change and empower the voices of the creators.

Art-A-Whirl  Spring 2013

Click Here to Hear Barbara’s interview with MPR’s Dale Connelly

The Twin Cities have a collective history as the source of wheat for our nation – and beyond. But, the golden grain is fast becoming a pariah of the four basic food groups. We need to examine ALL the data  to research this complicated social question before we draw conclusions.

Artist, Barbara Bridges’ Ode to Gluten is a large sculptural work created to celebrate wheat’s history here and to engage viewers in a dialogue about wheat: about its past, present and future role in the American diet, as well as in shaping the political, economic and social development of our city, state and country. Consider where support for the arts in the Twin Cities would be without the legacy and philanthropy of wheat? McGrath Poem on Bread

This large assemblage sculpture incorporates iconic historical artifacts, wood fabrication, bronze patina resin and ceramic construction.  The nine foot tall work is distressed and has the appearance of a vintage “something” that one might stumbled upon in the corner of an old General Mills factory.  The flattened Summit beer caps and Schell’s vintage beer cans provide a comfortingly predictable pattern, while the filigree of the Grain Belt artifacts creates contrast with the worn wooden Gold Medal packing crates.

Ode to Gluten also encourages the viewers to consider the evolution of our collective memories and beliefs about wheat. And, interactive materials provided with the piece prompt a discussion on the power of General Mills’ icons such as  the Jolly Green Giant and the Pillsbury Dough Boy and Kellogg’s Tony the Tiger.  AEM Newsletter

Northeaster 2Double click to read

On The Road
Artist Barbara Bridges is also planning a nationwide tour for “Ode to Gluten.”  Panel discussions, student workshops and adult events are being planned. Funding is also being sought to preserve the entire experience as a video documentary. Bridges will use the emerging trends identified with the survey at Art- A-Whirl to inform the development of the curriculum to accompany “Ode to Gluten.” The ongoing curriculum development will be informed by the results of the survey and the invited input of museums, sustainability groups, and relevant Twin Cities businesses. Post drb@bridgescreate.com to join the project!


Spring 2014

Ode InstalledMill City Museum -April 12, 2014  Dr. Bridges  helped visitors to the Mill City Museum create three-dimensional art pieces from their own “power objects” and imagination.   Art materials and other surprising supplies were available for building their own piece and to spark conversation, as all Dr. Bridges’ work is intended to do.  April 4th Install

Wini Froelich, Mill City Museum, Testimony

Cover3 Double Click
Student Idea Book used at Family DAy   – Amber PP




Icon1Icon Lesson Plan

Students will develop a new millennium product icon inspired by icons such as General Mills’ “Jolly Green Giant” or “Pillsbury Dough Boy,” as well as Kellogg’s “Tony the Tiger.”  Bridges is currently in conversation with several companies who may recognize the icon and the winning icon will earn a $100.00 prize.

Middle School Survey –  Icon Analysis   Ongoing Project.

 Pequot lakes Middle School

Click here for Student Discussions and Pages

Spring 2015  Ode Project will visit local high schools for two week custom designed residencies. Students will be lead in a deconstruction of Ode to Gluten as an example of art produced as a catalyst for social discourse leading to action.  The collaborators will facilitate the design, development and installation of a site-based public artwork focused on a social issue identified by the students.  A community “opening” and  discussion panel are also planned.
Ode to Gluten Study/Survey

Click below to  review the 2013 Art-A-Whirl  appearance events and the results of a survey completed by 350 people at that event.  Raw data below:      The Power of Cultural Icons and Legacy of Wheat in Minnesota

Ode to Gluten Survey 4


Resources for Points of Discussion

Testimonials for Bridges



Mill City Museum
Date: April 4th, 2014
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Art-A-Whirl 2013
Date: May 17th, 2013
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More events coming soon!
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Recent Posts

Invitation to join the discussion!
Date posted: January 5, 2014