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Neighbors Welcome Winter, Tile by Tile

While others dread winter, some locals are wishing the snow back as they build a mosaic celebrating the cold, and they want your help.

While others are dreading the onset of winter, 20 volunteer artists at the Friday wished the snow back, tile by tile, as they assembled an anti-graffiti mosaic destined for the nearby Byrant Avenue Market.

“I love the winter. All fall long, I can’t wait for it to snow. We moved here because of the cold,” said Gregg Severson, 32, who lives three lots north of the Market with Kellie Hoyt, 32, both of whom bicycle year round.

“This will be the fifth winter I’ve biked through in Minnesota,” said Hoyt, cutting into chips a mirror recycled from a Near North gym called The Firm. “We moved here from Ann Arbor because they didn’t have good enough winters for us."

“I like to snow shoe, ice skate, play broomball, hockey and build snow sculptures," she said. "I think we do need more that celebrates our winter heritage.”

Or not. Ranks were divided as the slippery cold is not an older adult value, and seniors outnumbered the youth 4 to 1.

Bernice Westendorp, 94, ducked the debate. “I’m just here to keep my mind going,” she said, pointing to her own creation, a summer farmyard acrylic featured on the Senior Center wall.

In two meetings led by the Calhoun Area Residents Action Group (CARAG), the community decided what facet of neighborhood life it wanted to celebrate with the mosaic, funded by an $8,000 City of Minneapolis Anti-Graffiti Micro-Grant and $2,000 from CARIG’s NRP account.

“Winter came up, and I thought, I don’t know of many winter murals in the Twin Cities, so I thought it would be unique and fun,” explained muralist and mosaic artist Sharra Frank, who created the mosaic's design. "It’s a big part of our culture that we’re hardy and know how to make it through tough winters.”

Outside, the Senior Center’s last grant-funded mosaic, gracing their parking lot wall, was still being admired as a passerby held out their smart-phone camera.

“These are wonderful community-building projects,” said Mary Ann Senior Center Director Mary Ann Schoenberger. “We invite anyone to join us.”

Remaining Mosaic-Building Times:

Mon., Oct. 3, 6:30-8:30; Wed., Oct. 5, 1 pm; Sat., Oct. 8, 10-Noon; Mon., Oct. 10, 1-2:30; Fri., Oct. 14, 1-2:30; and Thurs., Oct. 20, 1-2:30.

For more information and to register for the workshops, contact Mary Ann at 612-822-3194 or mschoenberger@voamn.org.

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