COTTAGE GROVE, Minn. — On a wintry November evening, Judy Lawhon brought a soothing breath of summer to the Cottage Grove Arts Commission meeting.

The commission voted Lawhon the winner of this year's Path to Poetry contest. She read her poem, a summer-centric tribute to warm breezes, green grass and sun, Nov. 12 at Cottage Grove City Hall.

Her poem will be stenciled on the paved trail at Hamlet Park by the Cottage Grove Department of Public Works. Previous winning poems adorn the pathways at Woodridge and Pine Tree Valley parks.

Lawhon told the commission that another of her poems is inscribed in the cement at the Pine City Public Library.

"I tell people my poetry is made to be walked on," she said.

Lawhon's poetry reading was part of a triple bill that also included a performance by Mary Franz, the commission's November Artist of the Month. The veteran troubadour played her 12-string guitar and sang "What a Wonderful World."

Next up were three local visual artists whose paintings were chosen to hang in City Hall as part of the commission's Public Art on Display program.

Rachel Barkow poses with her painting "It Will Not Return to Me Empty," which was chosen by the Cottage Grove Arts Commission to be displayed in City Hall. William Loeffler/RiverTown Multimedia
Rachel Barkow poses with her painting "It Will Not Return to Me Empty," which was chosen by the Cottage Grove Arts Commission to be displayed in City Hall. William Loeffler/RiverTown Multimedia


Sara Endalew painted "Smoke Bath" and "Generations"; Rachel Barkow painted "Highway 19 Sunrise" and "It Will Not Return to Me Empty"; and Erica Snyder created "The Grove in Graffiti." Each of the three provided a brief commentary on their work during a PowerPoint presentation. Those who wanted to view the real thing could check them out in the adjoining conference rooms.

That's also where they could view "Fly," a work by a fourth featured artist, Gina Samsel.

The work will be up for viewing through April 30, when other submissions will be rotated in.