Local Artists Add Color and Creativity to the Community

by | Jul 2022

Handmade plant lady mug

Photo: Christina Hankins

Highlighting the creativity in our community.

Art is all around us whether we realize it or not. As something that is so integral to our daily lives, I thought it was important to highlight some of the ways our community members are embracing their talents in a variety of mediums.

Color Me Mine
“When you take something away like art or music, you are not whole anymore,” says Christina Hankins, artist and owner of Color Me Mine. “It is very important to have different levels of creativity, you don’t have to be an artist to create something. It adds something to us that contributes to our well-being.”

Hand painted ceramics from Color Me Mine.

Purchasing the space just five years ago, she says it was the perfect opportunity to combine her love for art and education. The studio is an outlet for community members of all ages and artistic backgrounds to pick and paint their own masterpieces in a stress-free setting.

Gnome from Color Me Mine.

Choosing between an array of ceramics (the most popular are figurines and useable objects such as mugs) and a selection of glaze colors, visitors can decorate the object to their liking before it is fired in the kiln. (A process that takes about a week and requires a scheduled pickup days after creation.) “It is quite amazing to see the transformation,” Hankins says.
1215 Elm Creek Blvd.; 763.420.0005

Northwestern High School Art Exhibition
The Northwestern High School Art Exhibition at North Hennepin Community College offers a glimpse inside the creativity of the next generation while also providing a way for emerging high school artists to reach larger audiences.

“There is a larger community support for what [young artists] do, and they value what individuals make as a form of expression and visual communication … It is encouraging and beneficial for [the artists] to have that exposure and it adds a level of validation to their work,” says Josh Woof, the North Hennepin Community College gallery director and art professor. “It means so much more in terms of communicating and expressing themselves individually.”

This year, the collection showcased over 80 pieces from students at ten area high schools: Anoka, Elk River, Maple Grove, Osseo, Park Center, Parnassus Preparatory, Prairie Seeds Academy, Rogers, St Michael-Albertville and Zimmerman. “The amount of skill, dedication and use of new mediums coming into high school programs is really inspiring,” he says.

Community Artistic Merit Award Winners
Ten students, one from each high school, were recognized by faculty for their skillsets. We asked these local award winners from Maple Grove, Osseo and Parnassus Preparatory what inspired them to create.

Dylan Auseth
School: Maple Grove
Senior High School
Title: Pouring Vessels Set
Medium: Ceramics

Mesmerized by ceramic artists he followed on social media, Dylan was intrigued by their ability to create something eye-catching from a simple lump of clay. His desire to learn the craft inspired him to take a variety of ceramic classes throughout his high school career—turning to the studio as a stress reliever.

His collection showcases a circular vase inspired by a donut, a pitcher that features an innovative handle made from salvaged materials from the woodshop class at his school and a vase with an etching method emulating the pattern of waves. Recognized for his talents, “It was a big surprise, and it was really cool to see that my art could inspire other to do more,” he says.

Seth Vue
School: Osseo Senior High School
Title: Sleep is the Only Way Out
Medium: Digital media and photography

“My inspiration for this artwork is the constant shift of positive and negative emotion families, peers and educators felt during quarantine,” Seth says about his piece. Experimenting with a variety of lighting techniques, the exhibit provided the opportunity to showcase his hard work and helped him gain confidence in his artistic ability as a creator.

“I know my artwork is creating a voice for me and many other Asian Americans,” he says. “The values of art also allow me to express myself, my likes, dislikes and feelings.”

Vidhi Sharma
School: Parnassus Preparatory Charter School
Title: Complimentary Ganesha
Medium: Acrylic paint on canvas

Painting of Ganesha by student Vidhi Sharma

Inspired by her own home life, Vidhi explored how colors and shapes could reflect who she is and what she values. “While growing up I remember struggling to find who I was and what made me unique and this piece kind of symbolized that for me because it is of a religious deity that I hold close to my heart because it represents the remover of obstacles … someone who helps lead you through your path. A source of guidance.”

For Vidhi, art is what makes her feel whole. Turning to painting and dance, she says these forms help showcase her uniqueness as an individual. “I think [art] helps with your identity and expressing your feelings. Any form of art is a way of expressing who you are behind the closed doors,” she says.

Still Serving: An art show by military veterans
The Maple Grove Art Center aims at making fine art, theater and music more visible and accessible to the community. “I think art itself is important. It can be healing, it can bring people together for those who might not have ever done something together,” says Lise Spence-Parsons, the president and treasurer of the Maple Grove Art Center.

Partnering with the Osseo/Maple Grove American Legion Post 172, the exhibit showcases art created by local veterans from all branches of the military who have and continue to serve our country. It includes pieces from a former Vietnam War veteran who formerly captured combat scenes for the military, a medical doctor who currently provides health services to vets for free and more. “Featuring veteran’s art is just another way of bringing public awareness and support for the military and veteran community,” says Kristy Janigo, U.S. Army National Guard veteran and contrbuting artist. “It is a way for us to come together and we are in your community and hoping that an event like this sheds some light on the heroism that is exists here.”

Bunce Performing Arts
Born out of a family passion for musical theater, Bunce Performing Arts was established to provide an affordable, high-quality option for emerging actors as young as 10 years old. In just seven weeks, the organization develops their own cast, stage design, costumes and choreography for seven free public performances in the comfort of a (large) backyard every July. This year they will be performing Oliver.

“It is more than just our longing to provide a free show for the community and sharing a message of hope and encouragement, the other side of that is what is happening with the cast,” says Lori Bunce, co-founder of the organization. “There is a great value in that experience of learning that you are capable more than you ever thought, being a part of something that is bigger than yourself … you are a part of a team.”

Actors performing 'Joseph and the Technicolor Dreamcoat'

Actors of all ages joining together on stage for the production of ‘Joseph and the Technicolor Dreamcoat’ for the summer show in 2012.

Since its inception, the summer program has provided a space for individuals to build confidence, create community and gain professional experience for individuals. “These are places where people can blossom and grow,” business manager Rhonda Roe says.

In addition to their summer show, Bunce Performing Arts also developed The BEAT (Bunce Educational Adventure Theatre), an after-school program for elementary and middle school students to learn and perform their own short production after just ten practices.

For information about the summer show and program offerings visit bunceperformingarts.com.


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