Monsters roam New Richmond parks
The "monsters" that were created at three New Richmond parks in May have continued to bloom, grow and develop and become a unique part of the community.
The monsters, located at Mary Park, Glover Park and the Paperjack Greenway, are made of dirt, grass, plants and flowers, rock and a variety of other materials.
The project took the combined efforts of Messes and Masterpieces, the city's Parks Department and more than 30 high school students and volunteers as part of Service Learning Day.
Since their creation, the monsters have been improved and tweaked by their respective artists. Each monster is unique, all the way from its design to its name.
The two monsters located near the Paperjack Greenway are named Mary and Irv, after the project's sponsors, Irv and Mary Sather.
According to Christine Melby, founder and director of Messes and Masterpieces, naming the monsters after the Sathers was the idea of both her and Joe Kerlin, New Richmond's Parks & Recreation director.
"This is part of their creation and work with the Heritage Center," Melby said. "It was obvious to us if it was going to be on this property that it should be named after them."
The Sathers said they thought it was "hilarious" that the monsters were named after them, even cracking jokes that the sunflowers match their sunny personalities.
However, Mary Sather said they were also honored by the kind gesture.
"We have a long association with Chris and we thought that was a very kind thought of hers," Mary Sather said.
The area surrounding the Paperjack Greenway is frequently used for running, walking and athletics, which allows "Mary and Irv" to be seen by many people on a daily basis.
"The people who use the trail a lot really seem to enjoy them," Irv Sather said.
The monster at Mary Park was designed to look like the Loch Ness monster and the artists have nicknamed it "Nessie."
Artist Pat Hall said he is continuing to design Nessie's head and also hopes to add stones around the base of the monster's five humps.
Jim and Sue Zajkowski served as sponsors for Nessie's creation.
The monster at Glover Park, also known as the Shamrock Monster, was sponsored by Anne and Bill Langford and McCabe's Shamrock Club.
In honor of the monster's Irish sponsorship, Bill Driscoll created the monster's green shamrock eyes.
"(Driscoll is) part of the Shamrock bar and they were a sponsor for it, so he added his own artistic touch to it," Melby said.
Melby said the project allowed Messes and Masterpieces to collaborate with some new artists, such as Hall, and gave the artists the opportunity to display their talents to the community.
"I don't think many artists get a chance to make something of this scale very often, and especially something that's in a prominent spot," Hall said.
Katy Neitzke, one of the artists, also noted how the project connects the community.
"The snazziest part of these monsters was how it took high school kids, city department, the Heritage Center, Messes and Masterpieces and all of these people and kind of tied us all together," Neitzke said. "That was really neat."
Melby said she has heard a lot of positive feedback about the monsters and hopes to create more at other locations around the city.
"We had a board meeting and said that we'd like to do more if the city would approve of it," Melby said. "There's been talk of other ones going in some other places. We just have to get funding for it."