Artist Carly Schmitt has seen people get pretty creative within tiny spaces.
When she worked on a community mosaic project in her hometown of Vadnais Heights, Schmitt asked members of the community to personalize individual tiles, and they responded with intricate miniature drawings of their homes, pets or jobs.
“It is sometimes really amazing to see what people manage to fit on a one-inch square tile,” she said.
During Rosemount’s Art Blast, members of the south metro community will begin working on their own mural designed by Schmitt.
During “One Tile One Rosemount” events on June 24 and 26 at the town’s central park, residents can decorate wood tiles for an eight-by-eight-foot mosaic to be displayed on a wall of the Robert Trail Library.
Tile-signing is just one example of the over 40 different activities taking place June 23-29, during the first annual Art Blast, a weeklong “explosion of art,” as described by organizer Jim Kotz.
Each of 9,200 tiles will be painted with “an individual complimentary color just a little different from the background paint,” said event organizer Jeanne Schwartz.
The tiles will be assembled into an image of the Mississippi River as viewed from Spring Lake Park Reserve.
According to Schmitt, “Up close you can see each of the individual community member contributions, but from a distance, those individual marks fade into a larger community portrait.
Schwartz added: “It’s kind of symbolic of being part of a greater whole.”
The collaborative art project seems fitting for a community that in 2007 pulled together to start the Rosemount Area Arts Council and since then has renovated the former St. Joseph’s church into the Steeple Center, a vibrant arts center with a full calendar of film festivals, art classes and exhibits, and performing arts shows.
Events for the new Art Blast festival will take place primarily at the Steeple Center and the Central Park amphitheater, but also at the library and other places throughout the community.
“It’s basically a weeklong event celebrating the arts, celebrating summer,” said Kotz, who chairs the arts council.
The organization scheduled a diverse lineup, with classes on memoir writing, comic art, and cellphone photography.
There are workshops on watercolor and acrylic painting, silk scarf dyeing, mosaic making, basket weaving and creating with duct tape.
Daytime events include children’s activities such as balloon art, face painting, and author events with area children’s book authors Nancy Nolan and Chuck Brooks.
During the week, people can view a metal sculpture exhibit, a Sumi-e (Asian brush painting) exhibit and a photography contest display.
Evening entertainment includes dance performances, shows by the Backyard Bunch Children’s Theatre, comedy by “Pizpor” the magician, and a production of “A Penny Saved,” put on by the Front Porch Players. The Moses Oakland Quintet (blues) and the Paul Holland band and Deb Brown (rock, blues) will also provide entertainment.
“It’s rather eclectic,” said Kotz, “and that’s kind of what we wanted.
“That’s kind of why we came up with the name ‘Art Blast’,” he said. “We just wanted to make it a fun time for Rosemount. We’re trying to be as wide as we can.”
The event dovetails with the arts council’s five-year-old Bluegrass Americana weekend (June 27-28), an event featuring a square dance and a variety of old time and bluegrass bands: the Fly Rite Girls, No Grass Limit, the Fishheads, and Sawtooth Bluegrass Band.
Art Blast activities wrap up on Sunday, with a “Rosemount Sings” event, a contest for amateur singers aged 15-25.
According to Kotz, “It’s going to be ‘American Idol,’ done Minnesota style.”
Liz Rolfsmeier is a Twin Cities freelance writer.