A special letter

Scultpure dedication draws a crowd at Independence Park

Photos by Deb Gau A crowd gathers for the dedication of the Marshall community art sculpture at Independence Park on Thursday. Below, sesquicentennial celebrations continued Thursday with art and living history demonstrations at Liberty Park.

MARSHALL — The crowd gathered around Marshall’s newest piece of community art had plenty of good things to say. However, one comment in particular could be heard often: “I worked on that part!”

The new Marshall “M” sculpture at Independence Park is the work of many people, speakers at a dedication ceremony Thursday morning said.

“It kind of gets a life of its own, and a flavor from the community,” said Tamara Isfeld, the artist who has been working together with area residents all summer to create the mosaic covering the front of the M. Community fitted together many of the tiles, pieces of glass and other materials together to form the mosaic. “Really, I want to thank the community for joining together and making this so successful.”

The M sculpture was made possible through a grant from the Southwest Minnesota Arts Council and Minnesota’s arts and cultural heritage fund. The mosaic design includes geometric patterns and symbols from cultures in southwest Minnesota, as well as scenes from Marshall’s 150-year history. But a lot of the actual mosaic was shaped by Marshall residents, Isfeld said.

“You don’t always know the full direction it’s going,” she said of projects like the community mosaic.

But something beautiful still came out of it, Isfeld said.

The M sculpture was also made possible by Bend-Rite Fabrication in Marshall, Mayor Bob Byrnes said. Bend-Rite had the task of actually designing and building the metal framework of the sculpture, which is shaped like the ‘M’ in the Marshall city logo.

There are stories behind many of the tiny pieces making up the mosaic. If you look hard enough, you can see details like a pin commemorating Southwest Minnesota State University’s 50th anniversary. Some community members at the dedication could point out the materials they had brought to be incorporated into the art.

Conni Stensrud pointed to some circular swirls made of small beads.

“They were my mother’s,” Stensrud said. Stensrud said she had been going through her mother’s jewelry after she died, and thought of passing on the beads to use as mosaic material.

“I was so excited when I saw they were used,” she said.

Marshall resident Addy VanMoer said she came to help with the mosaic a couple times, and brought in several watch faces that became part of the design. Kandice Vandendriessche pointed out some metallic circles she had added to the art. “They were part of a chain belt,” she said.

“It was really fun to do,” Janet Vandendriessche said of working on the mosaic. It was also exciting to see the completed sculpture. “When you work on a little piece, you have no way of knowing where it’s going to go.”

The dedication ceremony was also a chance to recognize the organizers of Marshall’s sesquicentennial celebration, Byrnes said.

The roughly 30-person committee met for over a year to bring special events together for the occasion.

“They really put a lot of heart and soul into all of these events,” he said.

Byrnes also called attention to the city of Marshall’s recently-completed trail updates at Independence Park. The new concrete sidewalks were paid for through Tall Grass Liquor’s profits in 2020, and they should serve the community for years to come, he said.


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