Daniela Bianchini.JPG

Daniela Bianchini works on the mural on the Hastings Family Service building during the "See the Artist at Work" event Thursday, Aug. 19, which was the kickoff for the mural. Alec Hamilton / Hastings Star Gazette

This year saw strong investment into the arts in Hastings as more public art was installed downtown and the city voted to renew its Arts Task Force.

Back in October, the city council voted to revitalize its Arts Task Force, a seven-member group tasked with determining the best way to use grant funding to support and promote public art in Hastings.

The task force was renewed after a group of residents passionate about the arts appealed to the council to create an arts and culture commission that would take advisory and operational roles to advance arts in Hastings.

The commission was shot down as the city council favored reinvigorating the previous Arts Task Force as it was already established in Hastings and it could act as a launching point for the commission if the task force later determined the need for a commission. 

The renewal of the Arts Task Force will include defining new objectives to further arts in the community and possibly changing the task force’s original structure to better achieve that goal.

The task force was originally put together by the city council to assist the Downtown Riverfront Renaissance project.

Hastings wanted to revitalize and reconnect their downtown to the Mississippi River by improving the design of the downtown streetscape and Levee Park.

According to Lee Stoffel, a previous member of the task force, the task force is given $10,000 a year to conceptualize and create public art in downtown Hastings.

Its last project before being retired was the “Our Growing Diversity” mural located in the alley of Hastings Family Service facing Levee Park. 

The 90-foot-long mural represents the changing demographics of Hastings by showing the city’s growing elderly and diverse population.

Work on the mural, created by mosaic artist Daniela Bianchini and muralist Pablo Diego Perez Riesco, began in August and was completed in September.

Two new sculptures were installed in downtown Hastings this year as well.

Local artist Dale Lewis loaned two of his sculptures, “Leatherback Turtle” and “I AM the Walrus,” to the city until spring 2022.

Both of his sculptures which are made out of scrap metal and found objects can be found under the Hastings Bridge.

Along with the installation of public art and the renewal of the Arts Task Force, Hastings Prescott Area Arts Council (HPAAC), an arts organization that promotes arts and culture in the Hastings-Prescott area by organizing arts programs and events and collaborating with community organizations, raised over $27,000 for local art efforts during their annual Friends Along the River Gala on Sept. 26.

With the donations raised in the gala, HPAAC helps fund student scholarships, Tuesday Coffee Concerts, Summer SPARK Program, the River Valley Band, Black Dirt Theatre and Orange Dragon Art Gallery.

 

Written By

Reporter

Sophia Voight is a reporter for the Hastings Star Gazette. She is from Oshkosh, WI and graduated from the UW Oshkosh with a bachelor's degree in Multimedia Journalism in 2021. She can be reached with any news tips at svoight@orourkemediagroup.com

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