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Making messes, and masterpieces, for five years

With Messes & Masterpieces ready to enter its fifth year of helping the New Richmond Community realize its creative and artistic side, founder/director Christine Melby wants to raise $10,000 to help the organization put on even more free events this year.

“We are hoping to spread the word that art and the freedom of creativity are important for children and adults,” Melby said. “One setback we always have in the arts is that people will spend a ton of money making sure kids are on team sports but don’t invest in their creative side, which is so important for many aspects of life.”

Among the many things Messes & Masterpieces does throughout the year are the annual Fire & Ice event in February, the Heritage Hillside Series free art booth and the Service Learning Day public art making events.

“Our goal with this fundraising drive is to get support from our community one time a year as opposed to asking over and over for support,” Melby said. “It helps us put on the many free events we host. It helps us put more community art around town, also improving our community and bringing people together to help make it. We don’t exclusively use artists, we use the community.”

As of Friday, Dec. 27, the group was a third of the way to reaching its goal.

One of Melby’s main goals for 2014 is to continue to keep everything as inexpensive as possible for the people who want to create art through Messes & Masterpieces. So far, the group has reached more than 2,600 people with its many projects and classes.

“The more backing we get from the community, the more things we will be able to offer for free or at least for a cheaper cost,” Melby said. “We want to continue to keep everything at as low of a price as we can.”

One of the hardest things about raising funds for Messes & Masterpieces, according to Melby, is getting people to understand that art is something worth investing in.

“Our workshop provides the young and old opportunities for creative exploration, spending time together as parent or grandparent and child and many, many opportunities for an increase in quality of life,” Melby said. “Art is joy. People don’t seem to get that or want to invest in that.”

The fundraiser has three “Giving Levels” for donors, which include “Artist at Heart” ($500 and up), “Friends of Masterpieces” ($100-$499) and “Friends of Messes” ($25-99). To donate, go to the Messes & Masterpieces website ( or by mail at Messes & Masterpieces, P.O. Box 231, New Richmond, WI 54017. Make checks payable to Messes & Masterpieces.

“We are working on adding more pottery to our classes and projects since we just had a kiln donated to us by someone in the community,” Melby said. “We have not done much with pottery before, but now we are hoping that we can have everything up and running by the end of winter.”

This year’s Fire & Ice Celebration is Feb. 1, from 1-4 p.m. at the Starr Elementary Field on South Knowles Avenue. The event features many free family-friendly events, including ice painting, mini ice sculpting, a live DJ and ice skating. Join Messes & Masterpieces in its heated tent from 2:30-3 p.m for the “Cool Event That’s Really Hot” event where the organization will thank the volunteers and fundraising donors with special Fire & Ice food and fun.

To volunteer to help with Fire & Ice, or for more information, call 651-308-2938, visit the group’s website, find them on Facebook or email Christine at

Messes & Masterpieces is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization.

Jordan Willi
Jordan Willi is a reporter for the New Richmond News. Previously, he worked as a sports reporter at the Worthington Daily Globe in Worthington, Minnesota. He also interned at the Hudson Star Observer for two summers and contributed to the Bison Illustrated sports magazine at North Dakota State University.
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