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Go with your heArt

Fri, Jun 24th, 2011
Posted in Arts & Culture

Art fascinates me. Art in the "music" form is my forte and my major in college as a future educator who creates music, but any type of art I appreciate and enjoy observing. Artists from many walks of life put much work into their art, which then creates wonderful masterpieces. Spending time at Art in the Park in Lanesboro was a great opportunity for me to talk to artists from many places and see their creations they brought to share with the public to admire, purchase, or both! I was able to witness wonderful works of art and experience something even more touching than just looking at art. By talking with many of the artists who came for this event, they shared with me wonderful stories on what inspired them to create their art. In the meantime, developing short yet memorable relationships; an artist with an artist. Hearing their stories showed me that even though the art makes the artists, it's what inspired them to create their art and their personal story behind it makes it more meaningful.

Art in the Park drew in a huge crowd of people! What a great way to spend Father's Day? Folks from all around were able to see a wide variety of artworks and meet the artists. Taking a stroll through the park, people were able to see everything from homemade clocks, to water color paintings, to homemade pens, to alpaca clothing! The first piece of art that caught my eye was these beautiful wine bottle cheese boards. Created by Randee and Isaac Ward from the Twin Cities, they have been making these cheese boards for about 10 years. By recycling wine bottles from friends, neighbors, and also themselves, and then melting them down at 2000˚ to create these unique cheese boards after 12 hours. While living in Sparta, New Jersey, in 1999, working in the cooperate business, Randee was inspired by a friend who made these wine bottle cheese boards. Hesitant to take on making the cheese boards like her friend, Randee quit her job after the 9/11 tragedy, and thus her new career began. Ever since then, she and Isaac started showing their cheese boards in New York City. Eventually, they moved to the Twin Cities to doing shows with the cheese boards all over Minnesota, Iowa, and Wisconsin. One of the great things Randee and Isaac told me at the end of our conversation was that they were not sure if this business was going to work for them, but if you "go with your heart," it just might turn out well.

The next individual I spoke with was Darrel Bowman from Bangor, Wisconsin. It was Darrel's second year at Art in the Park where he brought his beautiful pieces of pottery. He made several types of bowls, cups, and plates with stunning designs and details. Darrel has been making pottery on and off for about 30 years, but he switched to full time pottery-making as a career for about 7 years. His inspiration came from when he was in high school when pottery was first introduced to him. He described making pottery as if it was "like magic" because he was captivated by the process of pottery and how wonderful it was to see the creation in the end. Not only did he think pottery was "like magic," but any type of art that is created can be magical. I found his story intriguing because as a musician, playing music is like magic to me without realizing it.

Northwoods Creations is owned by Gus and Carol Glaser from Chatfield, Minnesota. For about 12 years, the two of them have been making Native American hand drums, buffalo drums, dream catchers, and wooden flutes. Their business stemmed from a few hobbies. Gus enjoyed hunting, trapping, and, most of all, searching for rocks and cleaning them. Upon using his hobbies, the two of them found something that has carried them into retirement. Native American culture interested them because they thought it was "unique." So not only did they make this into a business, but they found a way to be more involved with the Native American culture. In Rochester, they attend drum circle events using the drums they made, such as their hand drums with beautiful painted art on them and their biggest attraction, the buffalo drum. The buffalo drum they created is an enormous drum the size of a small tractor wheel. The sound it makes when it is played is echoing! When Gus played the drum, he had me place my hand right above the face of it to "feel" the vibration without actually touching the drum. Having never felt this sensation even with the bass drum of a band was incredible. They have found in their creations something unique that they can share with other people and also express the Native American culture.

The last individual I talked to was Jacob Beneke from Maple Grove, Minnesota, a graphic design major who took his artistic skills to the next level. With his skills of mixed media, he has been creating sprinklers and sculptures out of recycled items consisting of various metals for about a year. This all came about when Jacob needed to put a scarecrow and a sprinkler in his own garden. The next thing he knew, he took many recycled items to create a piece of art that not only was a scarecrow, but it functioned as a sprinkler that he named Worzel. Much of his art he names, such as Babe the Blue Ox, Miss Rocker, and the Music Man. Much of the knowledge he gained about metal molds and creating art came from the Lasallian Art/Culture Center in Italy, where he said it was a great experience to be educated further in the world of art. He said that he "enjoys putting different objects together to create art." His story was remarkable to hear because he received a superb education and used it to create art that he loves sharing with people. Just by looking at his art, one could tell he has a passion for what he does.

As a college student who attends an institution that weighs very heavy on music and the arts, this event was ideal for me! I would encourage anyone to attend the art-filled event. Every artist has a story. It can be anything from where they create their art, how they create, and most importantly, what inspired them. Everyone can be inspired to create something; the only thing left to do is trust yourself and "go with your heart."

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