These past weeks have warmed my arts-lovin’ heart. The creative minds in Itasca County got behind an effort to combine the arts with other fun events bringing together the likes of agriculture, music and tourism.
Northern Community Radio’s Mississippi River Fest introduced ginormous handmade puppets created by Mary Blickenderfer and Steve Downing in the form of Miss Issippi and Sasquatch. The lovely Miss raised awareness about the importance of clean water in our precious rivers and 1,000 plus lakes in Itasca County. Sasquatch is no stranger to the airways as the local deep-throated voice of fundraisers. Along with a beautiful day and great music, members of the audience also watched artists in action painting on stage next to performers playing.
Also hats off to Grand Rapids Community Marketing Taskforce (GRCMT) and Grand Rapids Arts for sponsoring an arts photo scavenger hunt. GRCMT found funds to pay artists for installations around the county. John Connolly, Diamond Knispel and Aaron Squadroni answered the call. Until August 17, scavenger hunters may pick up information about the sites from participating businesses and either shoot selfies or have someone take their pictures with the art. They can then post pictures at minnesotasnature.com by clicking on the “Public Art Scavenger Hunt” page to win prizes. What a way to advertise art and what the area has to offer!
In fact it was one of these installations that got me to the North Central Minnesota Farm and Antique Show in Blackberry. I wanted to see Diamond’s mural painted on the side of a huge Morton-type building. Art got me there, but the show captivated me. I give tons of credit to a group of genius mechanics, who keep antique machines in operating order year after year, for also thinking of adding a mural to the scene. The sounds of old tractors, threshing machines, sawmills, old fashioned power plants and a blacksmith pounding away combined with the smells of cedar was truly tactile. When you go next year, bring your camera. And the food! This could be billed as the biggest bake sale in Itasca County.
Thanks to all for incorporating the arts in all these events and showing off that we are definitely all about the arts.