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Spreading the art around

The tree wrappings put up for Random Acts of Art could be seen on the trees across the street from the Veterans Memorial on West Fourth Street near Westfields Hospital during the second week of April. (Photo by Jordan Willi)1 / 2
The homemade flowers created for Random Acts of Art could be seen in the flower-boxes throughout downtown New Richmond during the first week of April. (Photos by Jordan Willi)2 / 2

Throughout April, Messes and Masterpieces will put up a wide variety of art pieces throughout the New Richmond community to celebrate Art Month in New Richmond.

“It is a fun way to pull more art into the community,” said Messes and Masterpieces  founder/director Christine Melby. “We have a lot of big projects that we do for service learning days, but this is just a fun, short sprint that we can do and have fun with. It is also a way in which we can work with some different groups that we don’t normally get to work with, like the 4K program.”

Random Acts of Art was approved by the City of New Richmond and was described as "gorilla" art by Melby because of the way Messes and Masterpieces gets help creating the art and then puts it out at night somewhere in town. A few days later the art is taken down and new pieces of art are put up somewhere else in the community.

“Our goal is to bring awareness to the beauty that art can bring to our city,” Melby said. “Having it out short term and in different locations is a way to surprise and build intrigue. It has been fun to see what has come out of this project and what the kids can create. The final plan is to get the art out into all areas of town.”

As of Monday, April 14, there had been two rounds of Random Acts of Art, including homemade flowers being “planted” in the big planter boxes all throughout downtown New Richmond, which went up during the first week of April; as well as nine trees on West Fourth Street (across from the Veterans Memorial) receiving a colorful wrapping of fabric during the second week of April.

Messes and Masterpieces has worked with a variety of groups to create the different art pieces, including the United Methodist Church Youth Group, high school students and 4K school children.

“This whole thing takes a lot of planning since we are working with so many different groups and are bringing the projects to them instead of them coming to us,” Melby said. “We are trying to do things on their schedules to make it easier. So far, all the people who have participated have been really excited to take part. They are having fun and it is really enjoyable to see the kids working on these projects and having fun.”

The ideas for what art projects to do have come solely from the Messes and Masterpieces board and have been determined in part by what supplies are most readily available and what groups they have lined up to put the projects together.

“It is something we have discussed and talked about as a group to try and find some cool things to do,” Melby said. “We have some really creative people on our board, so it hasn’t been hard to come up with ideas. What we have in stock at Messes and Masterpieces as well as who will be helping us with the projects is another big factor in what we end up being able to put together for each Random Act of Art.”

Although Melby didn’t want to give away too much about what art projects might be showing up around town in the near future, she did mention that community members should be on the lookout for some splashes of color in the ground on the north side of town, as well as some new decorations to be hanging around the library area.

“We will keep putting up new projects throughout the month, so people should be on the lookout around town for little pops of fun,” Melby said. “Hints will be in our storefront windows each week.

In addition to planning for the Random Acts of Art, Melby is also setting things in motion for this year’s service learning day, which will take place on May 16. The preliminary plan is to do some maintenance on the monsters that were created a few years ago and to put up a new mural somewhere near downtown.

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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