Parts of former Verso Paper mill in Sartell, Minnesota, to be repurposed to make sculptures, which will be placed around town to give an inside view of how the mill operated while also serving as bike racks
April 19, 2014
(St. Cloud Times)
– A new art project is set to put the Verso paper mill back into the community of Sartell.
The mill, which opened in 1905 and predated the formation of the city by two years, was put out of commission by a 2012 fire.
Now, parts from the building will be repurposed to make sculptures that also serve as bike racks around the town.
Local artist Heidi Jeub and Sartell High School technology education teacher Joe Schulte will head the project after receiving a $1,800 research and development grant from the city of Sartell.
The city received the money from the Central Minnesota Arts Board, which distributes state funds.
Both Jeub and Schulte graduated from Sartell High School.
"Growing up, the mill was kind of always in your peripheral," said Jeub, who previously worked on St. Cloud's Seberger Park mural project. "It was almost mythical in a way -- an icon of industry. But it was also like Charlie and the Chocolate factory as this thing you never saw inside.
"Now we are trying to find an interesting way for people to see inside this thing that was so crucial to the community."
Jeub, who recently earned the 2014 Central Minnesota Arts Board Emerging Artist Award, will consult other artists throughout the state to create the functional sculpture.
Schulte will be in charge of cutting the materials. Schulte and Jeub plan to start sculpting this summer.
"It is a really cool opportunity to honor the history of the city," Schulte said.
Schulte recently toured the abandoned mill.
He marked different aluminum and metal materials that can be used for the sculptures.
"It was almost like a nuclear bomb site," Schulte said. "Not a blow-up site but just how everything was evacuated. There were lunch pails and shoes still sitting right where they were left."
Follow Jake Laxen on Twitter @jacoblaxen.
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