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Nobles County Art Center inspires creative outlet

070120 N DG ARTCHALLENGE Project 5 Adry Stafford S1.jpg
Creating an image with a simple background, artist Adry Stafford submitted this piece of artwork for the Project 5 challenge. (Special to The Globe)

WORTHINGTON — Within two weeks of the implementation of Minnesota’s stay-at-home orders due to COVID-19, Nobles County Art Center Director Tricia Mikle knew the area’s artists would need a creative outlet and inspiration to keep their minds off the global pandemic.

The safety precautions brought a halt to monthly Art Club meetings, and has since resulted in a revamping of the traditional Area Art Show.

In late March, Mikle launched the first art project challenge through the Nobles County Art Center Facebook page. It was rather simple — stay at home and take pictures of anything in your house. People could submit up to three images and then choose one of those images for a follow-up challenge — to create a line drawing from the photo that included an element of surprise, whimsy, fantasy or surrealism.

Mikle created a project that allowed artists to use materials they had around the house — paper or another substrate, pencils, colored pencils, markers, thread or whatever. Once they were finished, the artwork was photographed and submitted to Mikle. All of the photos were then shared through the Facebook site.

Now in the midst of the seventh project, the former Worthington High School art teacher continues to challenge participants with the hope of attracting even more artists. She said anyone — of any age — is welcome to join in.

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In each project, artists create pieces that follow a certain theme or instruction. There was a sidewalk-inspired art project, collage creation, artwork featuring the sun, an assignment that depicted one subject with a simple background and another that limited the artist to just two colors.

The current project, due July 15, asks artists to go outside and create a work of art, finding inspiration from a landscape, flower, buildings, trees or anything in nature.

“We had to think of alternative ways to have people keep creating,” Mikle said of the project challenges, which span a week or up to two or three weeks depending on the difficulty of the assignment.

“I did try to keep (the projects) so they would be applicable to different levels of art knowledge or art ability,” she added.

Mikle hopes that through the Facebook project, the art club can grow and expand across the county. Thus far, art club members have been the only participants.

“We really want to see people create,” Mikle said. “We think it is a therapeutic process during these difficult times.”

She said the art projects will continue as long as the pandemic exists and people are advised to limit movement to prevent the spread of the virus.

“I just want people to enjoy the creative process — not to be afraid to create and do something new,” she added.

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For more information, to view the artwork from past projects or to participate in future assignments, visit the Nobles County Art Center Facebook page or email Mikle at noblearts@vastbb.net.

Related Topics: ART
Julie Buntjer became editor of The Globe in July 2021, after working as a beat reporter at the Worthington newspaper since December 2003. She has a bachelor's degree in agriculture journalism from South Dakota State University.
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