There's a museum in Rochester, Minnesota that you may have never heard about before. I didn't know about this place until today! It's the  Charles E. Gagnon Museum & Sculpture Garden. Charles is a significant artist to Rochester because he's the artist that carved the Peace Plaza fountain.

The Gagnon Museum is sort of tucked into a neighborhood, so you may drive right by it if you weren't looking for it. I, honestly, had no idea this museum existed until I saw an Instagram post talking about the Peace Plaza project. They tagged the museum in the post where they were talking about the fountain and I was so surprised to learn about this museum.

Get our free mobile app

Charles was born in Minneapolis in 1934 and had a great career as an artist. He was recognized in big was for his work. On the museum's website, you can read more of Charles' biography. But for example, Mayo Clinic, Anderson Windows, and the City of Rochester all commissioned him to create pieces for them. Throughout his career, he was honored by places such as the Smithsonian Institution and Garden Club of America. He was also awarded "the Rochester Mayor’s Gold Medal of Honor for Artistic and Cultural Achievement and was honored by having his sculpture in the Vatican Art Collection in Rome."

The enlarged 'Peace Fountain' sculpture (he had done a smaller one but the city commissioned him to make it bigger) was unveiled in the Peace Plaza in 1989 at that year's Rochesterfest celebration. After that, Charles decided to incorporate more doves into his work to create uplifting tones.

You can see other pieces of Charles' work at the museum in honor of him, the Gagnon Museum, which is located on 4th Street SW in Rochester.

PHOTOS: Murals Created by Award-Winning Chalk Artist Kathleen Roling