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Racers advance toward a buoy Friday afternoon during windsurfing action on Worthington’s Lake Okabena. (BRIAN KORTHALS/DAILY GLOBE)

Artist shine at Sailboard Beach during Regatta

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Worthington Minnesota 300 11th Street / P.O. Box 639 56187

WORTHINGTON — The Regatta is full of windsurfing, music and food, but many artists have come to Sailboard Beach to show their work.

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Some of that work will stay in the community even after this week’s festivities end.

More than 60 colors, not to mention countless hours, have gone into the mural that now adorns the Worthington VFW. Artist Shawn McCann and recent Worthington High School graduate Jasmine Vangsavanh were finishing Friday the final touches for the mural, which faces the east side of the building.

“I would say we have another 10 hours of work ahead of us,” McCann said. “We just have to do some finishing highlights and touch-up.”

The mural combines three main elements that are often identified with Worthington.

“It’s a combination of things that the people from the city wanted to include and it broke down to three main elements — the Regatta, the cultural celebrations that the city has and Turkey Day,” McCann explained. “We also wanted to thank the VFW and so we also included an American flag, and today (Friday) we will hopefully be adding the war memorial symbol underneath the flag.”

Possible wet weather conditions for the weekend have resulted in some planning adjustments, but McCann said he feels confident everything will be finished on time.

“The paint is a high-quality exterior paint and only takes about two to three hours to dry,” he said. “So as long as we have everything done for a good solid four hours before any rain comes, it should be just fine.”

McCann has been a professional artist for more than 12 years. He has done murals and large scale street paintings both nationally and internationally.

“My next project is a five-week long project in Wahpeton, N.D., for a National Endowment Grant for the Arts that is about three times the size of this mural,” McCann said. 

Vangsavanh, who had put in roughly 15 hours into the mural by Friday afternoon, explained her part in the creation.

“I created the turkey, but I also assisted in the painting of the windsurfers,” she said. “My favorite part of the mural, though, is the dancer and the waves.”

Simon Koster, commander of the Worthington VFW, said he was initially hesitant about the mural, but was thrilled after seeing it in person. 

“I didn’t know if the American flag would be very prominent, but it looks very nice and definitely stands out,” Koster said. “I have heard lots of favorable comments. ... People wanted something military-related on the mural, and I think the veterans memorial symbol will take care of that.” 

The completed mural is on display at the Worthington VFW, 1117 Second Ave. 

Other artists down at Sailboard Beach shined during the Regatta. Mark Kurtz, a chainsaw artist, was in town Friday carving masterpieces with only a block of wood and a chainsaw.

“I’ve been doing this for 28 years and I mainly do shows in St. Paul, Sioux Falls and Fargo, so this is my first time in Worthington,” Kurtz said. 

Kurtz started hand carving at age 13 and his love of carving just grew from there. He now dazzles audiences with his carving skills and showmanship.

“It’s not just watching me carve; I put on a full show,” Kurtz said. “I try and get everyone involved — especially the kids — so I normally carve their names in a piece of wood and they really get a kick out of that.”

Kurtz uses various woods for his creations such as oak, pine and ash. He has recently started designing pieces out of field stone. 

“I love everything about this business,” he said. “It’s a lot of work, and it’s very hard mentally and physically. Even if you make a piece 100 times, it still feels new every time.” 

Kurtz said that even though he was just spending one day in Worthington, he loves the town.

“I’ve been to a lot of places for shows, and Worthington truly is one of Minnesota’s best kept secrets,” he said. “To basically have southern California in a farm community is amazing. The people don’t know how good they got it here.” 

For more information on Mark Kurtz’s chainsaw designs, visit www.chainsawman.com. 

From chainsaws to light installations, the Regatta had it all. 

Kevin Reese, the artist who created the new mobile installation in the Memorial Auditorium, made a stop down for this week’s Regatta. Reese began the installation piece for the auditorium Monday and completed the project Friday.

“The piece is an ode to the performing arts, and I tried to use the same colors in the installation as the ones in the posters on the walls,” Reese said. “There’s a lot of blues, greens and purples in the piece.”

The 15-foot installation piece now hanging in the main entrance of Memorial Auditorium was completed by Reese as well as Worthington middle and high school students.

“I’m a collaborative artist,” he said. “I choose to involve other people in the process because it gives them a sense of ownership, and it’s fun for everyone.” 

Reese was in Worthington five years ago when he created the sculpture that still stands at Sailboard Beach. 

“It’s great to be back in Worthington, and I hope everyone gets a chance to stop in the Memorial Auditorium and see the piece,” Reese said.

Other types of arts — in the form of music — took the stage Friday night, including Narrow Vines, which featured WHS graduate Wesley Berger, and perennial favorite Ipso Facto, a group also with strong Worthington ties. A full slate of musical entertainment is scheduled for today.

Daily Globe Reporter Erin Trester may be reached at 376-7322.

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Erin Trester
Erin Trester is the crime and city reporter for the Daily Globe. She's a native of Lewiston, MN, but moved to Buffalo, NY to attend college and obtained her bachelor's degree in Communications. She started at the Western New York Catholic Newspaper as a reporter in Buffalo, but in October 2013 she returned to her home state to start with the Daily Globe. Most of her spare time is taken up by her 13-year-old thoroughbred named Faith, but some of her other hobbies include reading, fishing and spending time with friends and family. 
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