By Starrla Cray
DELANO, MN Wagon wheels, license plates, and old-fashioned milk cans are a few of the artifacts appearing at Delano Middle School lately.
Soon, the conglomeration will be part of a 20-foot community sculpture depicting Delano’s history.
“We received a grant from the Central Minnesota Arts Board . . . but we still need help from community organizations and individuals to donate artifacts and/or be one of the sponsors for the project,” noted Debbie DeBeer, who is organizing the project through the Delano Council for Art and Culture.
In addition to adult contributions, Delano seventh grade art students are also involved.
“Their assignment was to bring in a historical piece,” art teacher Rachael Anderson said. “The only requirement was that it be made of metal, wood, or stone, so that it will stand up to the elements. I encourage the older the better, so that we can get a broad range of history.”
Delano Granite Works donated a large pillar for the center, and well-known sculptor Zoran Mojsilov will be constructing the monument throughout the summer.
The site will most likely be approved at the next park board meeting.
“We will have the unveiling and dedication at the Fall Heritage Festival the weekend of Sept. 24,” DeBeer said.
Mojsilov, who was born in Belgrade in Yugoslavia (now known as Serbia), has created several impressive outdoor and indoor sculptures for various communities.
He was also the artist for Delano’s Bridge Avenue entrance monuments. DeBeer said Mojsilov was excited to do the tribute sculpture, which will be a more expressive piece.
“He wanted to work with the kids and do a sculpture that would depict the Delano community,” DeBeer said.
A few weeks ago, Mojsilov came to the Delano seventh-grade art classes to tell about his work.
“He was really good about interacting with them and involving them,” Anderson said. “Once he came and started talking, they got really excited about it.”
Students had the opportunity to sketch their visions for the sculpture using charcoal pencils.
They will also be writing summaries about the historical piece that they contributed, including its purpose and significance to Delano.
For students who were having trouble locating an artifact, Anderson encouraged them to search for something related to farming, the railroad, or the river.
“That’s what the town is known for,” she said.
Each student will get a page in a book about the sculpture, which will be on display at city hall. The page will include the summary, their charcoal sketch, and a photo of the student with his/her artifact.
To donate an artifact or become a sponsor for the project, contact DeBeer at (763) 675-3673.