RED WING -- Four images representing the artists’ visions of what hope looks like have been named as finalists in the Red Wing Artistic Response Team’s mural project.

Ultimately, one of the four designs will be produced as a wall-sized mural somewhere downtown.

The Hope Project, a collaborative effort between Red Wing Credit Union and the ART team, aims to create a visual message of hope, resilience and inspiration at a challenging time.

The finalists will receive $500 grants and the assistance of Dan Wiemer, the project's artistic director, to turn their concept images into finalized mural designs, Red Wing Arts Director Emily Guida Foos said. Murals aren’t quite like paintings, but have different lines, she explained.

Finalists are:

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Bruce Hecksel, an artist and a musician with the alt folk/rock duo Patchouli. He lives in Maiden Rock but has close ties to Red Wing, including numerous live performances at Red Wing Arts concerts and at other local venues.

His preliminary design is a triptych landscape composed of hearts. “The only way through these modern challenges is by connecting in love and unity, and celebrating the beauty of these amazing natural wonders we have in this area,” he said.

Chelsea Sagers, a University of Milwaukee Peck School of Arts graduate, who lived in the Twin Cities but enjoyed regular trips to Red Wing, especially in the fall, to visit, shop and enjoy the community.

Her concept, inspired by the 1970s era, is a landscape that showcases Red Wing’s natural beauty and offers “the promise of a new day.”

Susanna Yoemans, graduate of Red Wing High School and the College of St. Benedict, who recently returned to Red Wing.

She proposes an interactive mural she described as “a winged selfie wall.” People would be encouraged to stand in front of an image of wings and take their own pictures. Red Wing is represented in the background.

Pamela Kirton, a longtime member of Red Wing Arts whose work is represented in the local gallery. An illustrator, she lives in the Twin Cities. Her mural idea encourages people to find beauty in everyday things.

She envisions a butterfly escorting a cocoon through perilous waters. The scene also includes a graphic outline of the bluffs.

The artists will have four to eight weeks to develop final images, working with Wiemer if they choose to do so, Foos said.

At that time – September or October ‑ the four images will be reproduced and made public so the community can vote on their favorite. Copies of the designs may be sold to help support the artists and the project.

In addition, she said, they will work with the new Red Wing Arts Commission to select a finalist. A location also must be identified.

The plan is to create the mural in spring 2021. The artist may paint it, or a muralist could be hired.

Red Wing Credit Union, whose president and CEO, Aaron DeJong, conceived the project, is providing grants for the artists and the final mural. The ART team includes Red Wing Arts, the Anderson Center, ArtReach, the Universal Music Center and the Sheldon Theatre.

Foos also announced that a new art call is planned to solicit lyrics for a “Song of Hope,” which will be a sister project to the mural.

Mike Arturi of the Universal Music Center and musician Mark Woerpel want to create and record an official Red Wing Song of Hope using locally generated lyrics or poetry. UMC students may also be involved.

The lyric contest also is sponsored by Red Wing Credit Union. Details will be announced soon.