Count us among those pleased to see that the Norfolk Area Visitors Bureau plans to bring back its popular sculpture walk next year.

Public art is an important asset to every community, providing many benefits that help the city beautify its streets, parkways and parks. For those who have been to St. Paul, Minnesota, Charles Schulz’s Peanuts characters come to mind as an attraction that draws thousands of visitors there each year. Closer to home, Bartlett boasts the Herb Mignery bronze garden of 38 sculptures. No matter the site, art tells a story — and brings back memories.

Here are just a few of the inaugural statues here in Norfolk and the stories behind them:

“The Canteen Lady” honors the 6 million American soldiers served, and the loving hands who served them, at the North Platte Canteen during World War II.

“Parent and Child” outside the Norfolk Arts Center showcases the unconditional love a mother and her child share.

“The Captives” at Fourth Street and Norfolk Avenue depicts a time when Native American women were often held captive by other tribes.

“The Farmer” on Norfolk Avenue near Fourth Street highlights the importance of agriculture in Northeast Nebraska and our country. The bronze statue created by Lawrence Starck of Loveland, Colorado, was named the winner of the people’s choice award, which was determined by a public vote.

“Hey Mary Lou” at First Street and East Norfolk Avenue captures a football player’s first chance at glory as he dashes around the end toward the goal.

“School’s Out” at Memorial Field brings back memories of children dashing toward the ballfield after school and playing until dark.

Traci Jeffrey, director of the Norfolk Area Visitors Bureau, said the goal is to keep growing the event each year, and artists for the next sculpture walk are being sought.

“We’re starting off small and trying to do it correctly the first time,” Jeffrey said this past spring. “But we started in hopes of growing this every year.”

The next round of sculptures will be placed in April, and we look forward to the stories they’ll tell.

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