Luverne in postcards
LUVERNE — A towering mural recently unveiled in downtown Luverne merges the community's past with its present, showcasing local icons like the Palace Theatre, Carnegie Cultural Center and the Hinkly House, along with native sons Jim Brandenburg and Fred Manfred having a conversation at Touch the Sky Prairie.
The scenes play out in a series of 10 postcards that span the entire length of the HSI building at the corner of Main and Estey streets. Other scenes include the school, hospital, Connell Car Care, Papik Motors, Blue Mound State Park, a downtown street scene and Poppy, the statue at the Rock County Veterans Memorial, alongside a modern-day National Guard soldier.
Cindy Reverts, a Luverne artist and member of the Rock County Fine Arts Association, helped lead the effort to get the mural completed.
"The Fine Arts board had talked about a mural for several years," said Reverts of the colorful 16-feet-high by 81-feet-wide painting. "We were trying to figure out how to put past and present together in a wish-you-were-here theme. We just wanted to get a conversation going."
After securing a $10,000 grant from the Southwest Minnesota Arts and Humanities Council -- money through the arts and cultural heritage fund of the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment -- and city, business and individual contributions of $15,000, the fine arts board selected Gary Hartenhoff of Sioux Falls, S.D., as the mural's painter.
"Gary made his living as a sign painter for about 30 years and now does fine art," said Reverts.
The 76-year-old Hartenhoff began the mural in August, painting the images on sign board inside his Sioux Falls studio.
"He worked seven days a week to get it done," said Reverts, adding that Hartenhoff's daughter, Susan, flew in from Phoenix to help him finish the mural by Oct. 15.
City of Luverne workers attached the panels to the side of the HSI Building in late October, and the mural was unveiled to the public on Oct. 30.
Reverts said the mural has been the subject of many favorable comments from local residents, and she's anxious for visitors to the community to see the artwork.
The mural is the first of what Reverts hopes will be several public art projects in Luverne.
Funds for public art are more readily available now, thanks to the Clean Water, Land & Legacy Amendment approved by Minnesota voters in 2008.