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Unnasch art installation sign-posts in downtown Lanesboro are functional and aesthetic

Fri, Jun 25th, 2010
Posted in Arts & Culture

Andy Bunge (left) and Karl Unnasch (right) installing a new Art Installation Signpost on the corner of Coffee Street East and Kenilworth Avenue South in Lanesboro, Minn. Photo provided by Lanesboro Area Chamber of Commerce

Lanesboro was the recipient of a Town Meeting Initiative (TMI) Grant from the Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation (SMIF). According to Tim Penny, SMIF President & CEO, "Through TMI, we encourage communities and organizations to draw on their own assets to create change rather than looking to 'outside experts' for answers and assistance." This initiative brought community members together to consider Lanesboro's assets, set goals, and accomplish projects.

One identified project, presented by Adrienne Sweeney, involved improving signage in the downtown district. Several community members had the vision of merging signage functionality with art. This is when Karl Unnasch from Pilot Mound Design brought his talent to the table. Karl finds value and effective use in quite possibly everything he comes across. His experience with reclaimed materials is vast and continues to expand. Raw materials are collected, categorized and then recycled into new materials. Found objects are repurposed into clever new designs for living architectural flair, pure aesthetics, and functional gear. The conversion of material and objects is limitless. According to Karl, "The Lanesboro signage project came into being during the downturn of the economy. The symbols of the Egg, Berry, and Nut were chosen for their elemental significance to life cycles, nourishment, and natural potential."

The three new signposts with unique finials in Downtown Lanesboro were made possible through a collaboration of designers, builders and funders. In addition to the Town Meeting Initiative support, Karl Unnasch received a Southeastern Minnesota Arts Council (SEMAC) grant. The finials, hangers and posts were made possible by SEMAC, NRB Metals and Pilot Mound Design. Aluminum signs were funded by Root River Valley Friends of the Arts, Inc. (RRVFOTA), a non-profit corporation in Lanesboro dedicated to propagating the public enjoyment of the arts within Lanesboro and surrounding communities through collaboration.

All installation and prep was made possible by Andy Bunge of Bunge Construction and Sheldon Kinneberg of Preston Iron Works. Eric and Andy Bunge donated both materials and labor for the project to come to fruition. Lanesboro City employee, Andy Drake, ran the city equipment to assist with the installation. It took all partners to ultimately accomplish the goals of the project.

Lanesboro Area Chamber of Commerce Director, Julie Kiehne, commented "As Lanesboro grows as a tourist destination, we continue to work toward improving the directional signage. These signs will have an impact on visitor experiences, leading them to our businesses and engaging them further in our community. Many thanks to everyone involved."

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