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Want to help beautify downtown Worthington? Bring your art skills to paint some planters

Two events are planned, and the ArtMobile would like to organize more.

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Gail Holinka (left) and Bobbie Alsgaard-Lien are pictured with the Artmobile. (Globe file photo)

WORTHINGTON — As new amenities go up around Worthington, public art is a planned element in beautifying downtown — and the community is invited to help.

Gail Holinka, who runs the ArtMobile, explained that art advocates have been working with the city for months to determine exactly what the public art project would look like. Thanks to a grant from the Southwest Minnesota Arts Council, the ArtMobile will be facilitating the painting of tiles to be assembled into five planters around downtown.

Each of the five planters will represent one of the dominant cultures in Worthington: Native American, European, Asian, African and Hispanic/Latinx. It's vital to get members of each of those cultures to participate, and the ArtMobile will work with other community organizations and businesses to do tile-painting events onsite.

Two events have already been planned. From 5 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 11 and Thursday, Aug. 19, Forbidden Barrel Brewing Company will host a tile painting. Supplies are provided by the ArtMobile, and it's free to participate. Plus, anyone who paints a tile may tell the bartender and receive a dollar discount on a pint.

Holinka said this kind of event is a good fit for the ArtMobile because it's looking to offer more events for adults. It's also right up the alley of Forbidden Barrel owners Cheryl and Brent Droll, who are avid supporters of community projects. Plus, it's a win for the city.

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Painting planters as a community is more than just about beautifying the downtown, Holinka said. As tiles are set next to each other, "each person is connecting to the next person." The project is designed to build unity while working together.

The idea was inspired by the summer farmers market put on by the Worthington Area Chamber of Commerce, Holinka added. At the farmers market, community members of all different cultures, languages and national origins get together to feed the community. The ArtMobile hopes to foster similar camaraderie in decorating planters.

To set up a tile painting event, contact the ArtMobile at (507) 360-4619.

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