Jul 18, 2012 • By

A welcoming wall of stone

Here at General Mills, we like to think outside the cereal box. That’s obvious when you look around our headquarters. The buildings are surrounded by a one-of-a-kind collection of art.

This week on A Taste of General Mills, Don McNeil, the company’s former, full-time art curator, is showing us some of his favorite pieces.

For this post, he picked a wall-like structure called Stone Court.

Artist Jackie Ferarra was commissioned to create the piece in 1988. She typically used pieces of cedar to create her artwork, but in true General Mills fashion, she unleashed her imagination.

Ferarra sent Don a proposal for a piece that could be made out of stone.

“One of the great things about commissioning is helping these artists do something new and something that they hadn’t been able to do before,” Don says. “We did kind of encourage them to think about things in different ways, and that’s what Jackie did.”

They studied various stone samples and decided to use Kasota stone from Mankato, Minn. It was carefully cut, labeled and arranged on pallets – then shipped to our headquarters in Minneapolis.

Here’s a photo, from the installation.

Don talks about the process to create Stone Court, in this video interview.

At one point in the construction, a local building inspector said the stone steps required a railing. Don insisted that it was a piece of art. The inspector quickly dropped the issue.

As for Ferrara, she continues to create novel pieces of art.

“She also has gone on to work with stone numerous times,” says Don. “So that was very heartening to see and help an artist do something that they have now gone on to do many times.”

Editor’s note: This is the third post in a series about the outdoor art at our headquarters in Minnesota. The first post was “What is that statue?” The second was “Did something fall off a UFO?” The fourth was “Table top.” And, the fifth was “A big bowl of Cheerios.”