Three communities have come together to share their Minnesota’s Nature vision. The communities of Deer River, Grand Rapids and Coleraine/Bovey have come together to depict their community through three individual murals. These murals are located on the south side of the MacRostie Art Center building in downtown Grand Rapids. The MacRostie brought three local artists together with three groups of students to create the artwork. Sherry El-Nashaar worked with youth in Deer River; Paula Swenson worked with Grand Rapids youth; and Tom Page was paired with the Bovey/Coleraine group. Each artist is responsible for working with area students in conceptualizing and ultimately creating a three-paneled mural. The groups from the different locations will have 30 hours each in which to complete their works. For many years, Katie Marshall, MacRostie Executive Director, as well as others in the community, have envisioned the potential of a mural along the south wall of the MAC that faces Highway 2. So after being hired, she had it in mind to have a mural painted on the wall, but unfortunately it was cost prohibitive.
Katie decided to make this into a community art project, where area students and artists come together to collaborate and learn. The MAC received a grant for the project from the Minnesota State Arts Board this past January, which would allow the gallery to make their community mural project a reality. The MAC, being a regional arts organization felt it was important to have the actual painting of the murals done in the different parts of Itasca county. The murals were painted on panels that were later transferred to the outdoor location for area residents and visitors to enjoy.
Initially the artists thought that they would outline the design concept and the students would paint it. During the research and conceptualization phase of the process it was quickly realized that the students would be much more involved in the drawing prior to the painting of the full scale murals. This project process allowed the artists to learn and grow from the students as well. The students researched their communities and then worked with the artists to create their vision of their mural. The students learned things like artist research, artistic scaling, painting techniques and public art display. Marshall is happy with the results and thinks that there are a lot of places and opportunities for more public art to be displayed throughout the region.
More about the MAC Mural
Grand Rapids Herald Review article: The MacRostie Art Center reaches out regionally to make 3-piece mural