Celebrating the Art of Community

In August of 2019, scans of nine original paintings were installed on the outside of downtown storefronts in Mesabi Iron Range communities. The project was called Art of Community, and it was made possible with a grant from Iron Range Resources, an investment by the Iron Range Tourism Bureau, and assistance from the Lyric Center for the Arts. Participating artists were asked to create within the theme “Looking Forward: Creating and Celebrating the Future of the Iron Range.” Their works may be viewed at the addresses shown.

Jane Wertanen’s painting may be viewed at the Hoyt Lakes IGA, 237 Kennedy Memorial Drive.

About Jane

Growing up in Aurora and Hoyt Lakes, Minnesota, Mrs. Wertanen is proud of her family who worked in the iron mines of the Mesabi Iron Range for four generations. They helped make our country strong. After owning and managing Beauty Shops in Aurora and Eveleth, Minnesota for 22 years, Mrs. Wertanen began college.

Her education began at The Mesabi Community College where she earned an Associate of Art and Science degree in Marketing Management and Pre-Education. Continuing at The University of Minnesota, Duluth she earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Art Education for K-12. Completing her education at The Savannah College of Art and Design in Savannah, GA Mrs. Wertanen earned her Master of Fine Art Degree in Painting.

This M.F.A. made possible her career as an Art Specialist in Education teaching all ages. Working in the South East she taught visual art to all the grades, college and community education. Subjects included Understanding Art, Sculpture, Photography, Drawing, Painting, Ceramic Clay, and Art History. In addition to developing future artists Mrs. Wertanens goal was to make all students artistically knowledgeable.

Artist Statement

Each of Mrs. Wertanen’s paintings is a story of love and respect for life. As a visual artist her inspiration is found in nature, survival, and the small things in life. Often painted in bright oil or acrylic, Mrs. Wertanen’s images range from tropical seascapes to the flora & fauna of Minnesota landscapes. Her pride in her iron mining heritage is depicted in both working and retired iron mine landscapes. Mrs. Wertanen’s body of work forms her visual autobiography. She continues to paint and presently resides in Virginia, MN with her husband Alvin.

Autumn Locken’s painting may be viewed at 219 Main St. North in Aurora.

About Autumn

Hello, my name is Autumn Locken. I am a nursing major at St. Olaf College. I graduated from Mesabi East High School and Mesabi Range College in 2018. I’ve lived on the Range my entire life and I love it here, it’s my home. I want to come back after I graduate from St. Olaf. It’s a beautiful place to live and it is full of amazing people.

I’ve always been interested in art; I finished a mural for Mesabi East’s band program in 2018. I’ve taken multiple art classes, one of my favorites with Mesabi Range’s Talicia Honkola who inspired me to continue in art. Although I’ve sold a few of my paintings, I love to paint for family and friends free of charge.

LeAnn Oman’s painting may be viewed in the window of Carlson’s Sausage and Pasty Kitchen at 111 MN-135, Biwabik.

About LeAnn

LeAnn Oman was born and raised in Hermantown Minnesota where her love of art began. She currently lives in Hermantown but spends her summers in Biwabik. She fell in love with the range and cherishes her time there. She loves the beauty of the range and it’s people.

LeAnn considers herself an “unconventional creative” who has always loved to explore various unique mediums in which to express herself. LeAnn’s primary focus in recent years has been on mediums that are organic in nature. Chainsaw carving and wool painting have given LeAnn an exciting new outlet in which to express her creativity. Both wood and wool tend to create themselves as the work progresses, and this is something that LeAnn finds very intriguing. Giving up some of the control to the medium makes working with organic materials very exciting and rewarding.

Spencer Hahne’s art may be viewed in the window of the building at 318 Broadway St. N. in Gilbert.

About Spencer

I am a self-taught painter from Virginia, Minnesota. Since 2001 I have worked as a painter and art instructor. I have exhibited in juried art shows and art fairs across the Midwest as well as having works in numerous Minnesota galleries. I have also been teaching classes for many local organizations charities for the last 5 year – helping raise funds for such groups as the YMCA, Soroptomists, St. Michael’s nursing home, as well as local libraries, churches and schools.

My art is influenced by the unique landscape and wildlife of Minnesota and the Iron Range. Working in oils, acrylics and pastels, I combine both traditional and contemporary techniques – striving to capture the unique beauty of Northern Minnesota.

The painting by Sandra Markovich may be viewed at 201 Grant Ave. in Eveleth.

About Sandra

SANDRA MARKOVICH is an acrylic artist that lives in the Midway area of Virginia. She paints in her cottage on her property and listens to the industrial music of the Range for her inspiration.

For 41 years she lived the Range industrial trials and tribulations working in the mining industry. Retiring as a US Steel control room operator in January 2017, she has now gone back to her first love: making a statement through art.

Bolstered by her Art Colony friends at the Lyric Center tor the Arts, she is continuing her art education. She attended Layton School of Art in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. As a student she was one of only 100 chosen for the freshman class. Art history was also a love and was her minor. She worked for the Milwaukee YWCA and was instrumental in starting a children’s art class in an underprivileged neighborhood.

She “finally” completed her AA at Mesabi Range Community College in 2005, becoming a member of Phi Theta Kappa. She is now working on perfecting her skills by taking workshops and getting feedback from other artists.

The longer she is retired, the more she is learning about the melting together of art and history. As a board member of the Iron Rang Historical Society this has intrigued her, and she has been painting from old photos of the Range past. This summer Sandra participated in The Eveleth Heritage Committee’s 4th of July Art Exhibit. She painted a piece called “The Beer Drinkers.” The photo was taken by the first photographer in Virginia. Done in sepia, it was a challenge. By the time she got done with the painting, Ms. Markovich said she felt as if she knew these men. Looking into people’s eyes tells you so much, she stated.

She is now gathering information on underground mining and is planning on doing a series of paintings on this subject.

When Sandra is not painting, volunteering, being with family and friends, or traveling, she is working on her home and gardening. She is also a dog mom to a four-year-old English Cocker that thinks he can talk. She is currently looking forward to more fun painting and doing some printmaking in the future.

The collages by Karlyn Atkinson Berg may be viewed at 423 Chestnut St. in Virginia.

About Karlyn

Karlyn graduated from Rhode Island School of Design, and continued graduate studies
at Pratt University in printmaking and worked at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. While
studying painting at Rhode Island School of Design she worked primarily with acrylic, oil
and printmaking. However, the collage medium became her passion and has been the
main focus of her work as an artist for many years.

In 2017 she was awarded a Minnesota States Arts Board grant and a grant from The
Arrowhead Regional Arts Council. And in 2018 a second grant from The Arrowhead
Regional Arts Council.

She is currently the administrative assistant at the Edge Center for the Arts in Bigfork,

Karlyn lives in the BalsamTownship. She has enjoyed working with her two German
Shepherds, and has trained and competed with them in obedience, agility and tracking,
and scentwork.

Artist Statement

I am fascinated with arranging colors and shapes; searching for visual meaning until a finished piece finally emerges. A single color or shape may spark an entire composition.

As I collect materials, they seem to connect individually or in groups. From those materials, I begin to seek an interaction in space and form. Each added element will build on the previous one by changing, adding, or even eliminating the other components.

Knowing what to remove becomes as important as knowing what to add to the work. Some compositions blend in harmony, while others create discord that is both exciting and unexpected. Not all the works are harmonious or beautiful.

As the painting unfolds, images change. Some works have intense colors while other are translucent and may appear to float in space. Realistic objects may no longer be recognizable on their own and will become only an element in the larger sensibility or visual impression.

I use a variety of mediums and materials such as pastel, airbrush, acrylic, silkscreen and woodcut, printed images on paper, wood and gesso surface combined with collage. The intention of the work is a visual experience and, like the words of a poem or song, should leave you with an image and emotion.

“Loads of Fun on the Iron Range”  by Amy Lucas-Peroceski can be seen at 30 West Lake St. in Chisholm.

About Amy

Amy Lucas-Peroceski is a 28-year-old artist who lives and works in Minnesota.  Her painting medium of choice is water-miscible oils.  She enjoys the rich colors and textures she is able to achieve with them.  Amy enjoys painting many different things such as people, buildings and still lifes.  Currently she has been painting flowers mainly influenced by the flowers that grow right in her backyard.  There are so many different colors and shapes to paint when you are looking at flowers.  Amy has been drawing since she was about 5 years old and has been painting since she was a teenager.

Artist Statement

I make art because I enjoy the process of creating it.  There are so many magical moments in life and I sometimes feel they pass too quickly.  In my art I like to try to capture those moments and convey the feelings I had during the moment or the feelings that the subjects of the paintings are having.  Through making art I feel I get the joy of reliving that moment over and over again until the work is finished.  I also just enjoy the process of making art.  The sights and smells of the different materials.  The fresh white canvas, the blank paper, the lump of clay they all beckon me.

I make my art using several types of media.  Although I am primarily a painter I like to explore all types of art and I often work with drawing and sculpting materials as well. I enjoy using acrylics, water miscible oils, charcoal and pastels.  I get ideas for art all the time as I’m going throughout my day.  I feel there is no end to subject matter and inspiration around me.  I love to paint all different subjects scenery, buildings, animals, people.  I also enjoy exploring abstract art and focusing more on emotion than objects.

As an artist I do not like to get put in a box or labeled as a specific type.  I feel that in life and art we are always learning, growing and changing.  Art is an experience to me.  It is always fresh and exciting.  I love exploring new art media and ideas.  Depending on what I want to express in a specific piece of art, where I am making it and what its purpose is I will use different media to meet these needs.

“Muse” by Kathleen Fredeen may be viewed at 313 East Howard St. in Hibbing.

About Katie

I am a professional graphic designer and owner of Pink Tie Design, located in Hibbing, MN. I specialize in creating
strategic designs for an array of clients in many different industries. I have lived in Hibbing the majority of my
life. I made the decision to move my business back “home” in 2007. My husband and I live in town and stay busy
with keeping track of our three kids.
I believe in community and in giving back to the town that helped to shape me into the person that I am today, I currently serve on a number of community boards.

Artist Statement

As “Rangers,” we’re known to be a little more rough around the edges and are typically personified as male iron workers—it is my intention that “Muse” will help to debunk that stereotype—and instead make people see the beauty there is to be found around here.
My “Muse,” or inspiration for this piece came from listening to “Girl from the North Country,” a song written and recorded by Bob Dylan four years after he graduated from Hibbing High School. It’s rumored that he may have written that song about a high school sweetheart, but to me, his lyrics speak of the beauty of Hibbing, and my personal feeling that the area itself has served as a muse for many of Dylan’s songs.
This Girl from the North Country’s body is made of iron ore—she has been created out of a mine dump, yet radiates beauty. Her hair glitters from freshly fallen snow and her warmth emanates from the fire contained within her guitar. Her skin isn’t perfect either—its roughness comes from the weathered paint of the haul truck that was located at the old Hull Rust Mineview. She’s playing in a field of wild foliage that overlooks the majestic Hibbing High School building. She may not know where her road may lead, but knows that the northland means “home.”
In creating this piece of art, it is my hope that the heart and soul of Hibbing shines forth—that we are able to look to the core of who we are and see the beauty that lies within and around our community.