Donors put up money to turn silos into art

Grain silos towering above the Minnesota River will soon become a work of art after a Mankato arts group hit the $250,000 goal it needed for the transformation.

"The community came together and wanted to see it happen," said Nancy Zallek, CEO and president of the Mankato Area Foundation, which helped guide the fundraising effort.

Big donors include Anne Herlihy and her brother, Bob Chesley, and his wife, Carla, who contributed $50,000 then matched another $50,000 in donations.

The 100-foot-tall concrete silos, which can be seen from Hwy. 169, will serve as a canvas for Australian artist Guido van Helten, who has painted photorealistic murals on buildings around the world. Van Helten began gathering ideas during a visit to Mankato last fall and will return this summer to work on the project, which is expected to be finished in October.

The Ardent Mills silos will become yet another piece of public art that has been integral to the revitalization of downtown Mankato over the last decade.

"We've had our eyes on the silos for a while," said Noelle Lawton, executive director of the Twin Rivers Council for Arts, which is spearheading the project. "They're situated right in the center of our downtown."

Although it's not yet known what will appear on the silos, Lawton said it will include "local, everyday people who represent the essence and spirit of the community."

Mary Lynn Smith


Flag design contest flagged for forgeries

Two of the nine flag designs that made it to the final round of judging in Duluth's search for a new city flag may have been copied from other competitions, the city has learned.

One of the suspect designs looks like a near replica of graphic designer Holly Jakub's proposed Minnesota state flag. Jakub created her flag design in 2017, according to her website. That's well before the Duluth competition began.

A second flag design that raised doubts looks very similar to "The Detroit Rise" flag created by graphic designer Deon Mixon, which he completed while earning a degree at Western Michigan University in 2017.

A Duluth spokeswoman said the city is not identifying the people who submitted the designs, but has reached out to them to ask about the similarities between their flags and those of the graphic designers. The designs might get yanked from the competition, depending on what's learned, the spokeswoman added.

The city hopes to unveil its new flag this summer.

Matt McKinney