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Minnesota writer and 'Kaplan Horse' artist to speak at the Nobles County Library Thursday

“When I’m writing, I don’t know where the journey is going to end."

FILE PHOTO: The efforts of many people contributed to the Saturday, June 19, 2021 dedication of the bronze statue in honor of Mary Thompson. From left: Mayor Mike Kuhle, Gail Holinka, Worthington Public Arts Commission Chair Cheryl Avenel-Navara, artist Arthur Norby, Mary Luke.
FILE PHOTO: The efforts of many people contributed to the Saturday, June 19, 2021 dedication of the bronze statue in honor of Mary Thompson. From left: Mayor Mike Kuhle, Gail Holinka, Worthington Public Arts Commission Chair Cheryl Avenel-Navara, artist Arthur Norby, Mary Luke.
Leah Ward/The Globe
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WORTHINGTON — Minnesota author and artist Arthur Norby, whose Kaplan Horse sculpture is displayed at the Worthington Event Center and whose Tom Hall mysteries can be found locally, will speak at the Worthington branch of the Nobles County Library at 6:30 p.m. Thursday.

“We’re really excited,” said Daniel Mick, adult service librarian. “He actually called us.”

Norby is traveling through Minnesota and has stops planned in the Fargo-Moorhead area as well as Litchfield, he said.

“My career has been as a sculptor and a painter,” Norby said. “With sculpture, I would have an idea of what I wanted to do and I would start building it.”

That’s not necessarily the case for his books, which are set in the western Minnesota of his youth, particularly in Montevideo and Chippewa County.

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“When I’m writing, I don’t know where the journey is going to end,” he said.

His first book, “The Deadly Winter,” is a mystery, and while protagonist Tom Hall is a human being, the Minnesota winter itself is the first character in the book, and it’s a cruel one, Norby said. The book developed from his own recollections of winter on the Minnesota plains, as well as stories he heard growing up about a young man wrongfully accused of murder and the history of the dam built in the Lac Qui Parle Valley.

“I live in a fantasy land, because I can create whatever history I want,” Norby said, explaining that some of his novels began with asking a question like “what were my ancestors doing at this time?” and creating a fictional answer with a story.

“All of them have a little love, a little lust and a little murder, and it takes all of that to make a good mystery,” he added.

Including that first book, Norby has written seven Tom Hall novels, all of which draw in local history and geography, and all of which can be read on their own. He’s also published a book featuring images of his many sculptures and an autobiography.

Worthington area residents may recognize Norby’s name from the dedication of his bronze Kaplan Horse, placed in the Event Center lobby in honor of local artist Mary Kruse Thompson.

“It’s a very unique piece,” Norby said. “It’s kind of a contemporary-traditional Greek/Native American interpretation of a man on horseback.”

Minnesotans may also recognize Norby’s name from the Minnesotan Korean War Memorial at the state Capitol, which was dedicated in 1998, or pieces displayed in Spicer, New London and in other places across the state.

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Norby began his artistic endeavors young.

“In the sixth grade, I watched a sunset, and the next day I took colored construction paper and colored chalk… and I went home, and tried to do a sunset with colored chalk and colored construction paper,” he recalled.

While the experiment was “not very successful,” according to Norby himself, it was only the beginning

Norby started doing scrimshaw artwork in 1975, transitioned to sculpture in 1979, and opened his first art gallery in Willmar that same year. He stopped doing scrimshaw the following year. Throughout his artistic career and even before that, he continued to create oil paintings.

Norby’s work can be viewed online at norbygallery.com .

His books will be available for sale through Serenity Gifts during the library presentation, and Norby will also be available to sign books at Serenity Gifts from 2 to 4 p.m. Thursday.

READ MORE FROM KARI LUCIN

A 1999 graduate of Jackson County Central and a 2003 graduate of Augsburg College, Kari Lucin started writing for newspapers in Minnesota and North Dakota in 2006. During her time as a reporter, she covered beats including education, watershed, county and agriculture, and frequently wrote about health and science. She has also served as an online content coordinator and an engagement specialist at various Forum Communications properties. She was a marketing assistant at Iowa Lakes Community College in Estherville for two years, where she did design work in addition to writing and social media management.

Lucin is currently a community editor with the Globe of Worthington.

Email: klucin@dglobe.com
Phone: (507) 376-7319
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