By Kristen Miller
DASSEL, COKATO, MN Geoff Welles, Dassel-Cokato High School art and computer graphics teacher, was very surprised and elated to find out recently he was awarded a $3,000 art grant through the Central Minnesota Arts Board.
Welles submitted a series of five pen-and-ink drawings, called Abstract Machina, which is Latin for machinery, he said.
“As an artist, what I do is for myself,” Welles wrote as part of his grant application. “The Abstract Machina series is the essential style that shows everyone who I am.”
“The concrete sequential side of me loves the machinery. The parts seemingly have a point, and despite its randomness, the machine is connected and one wonders if there really is a purpose,” Welles explained. “At the same time, the chaos inside me screams to cut loose! The abstract allows me to draw and let creativity flow.”
The Abstract Machina is an original style of his that started out as just “random doodles” he did as a kid to pass time, he said It later became something much greater.
Welles was among the top six artists chosen to receive the McKnight 2011 Individual Artist Awards recently.
The purpose of the award is to “recognize, reward, and encourage outstanding artists in the region who have demonstrated prominent artistic achievement,” according to Central Minnesota Arts Board’s website.
Welles has been a teacher within the district for 11 years. He happened to stumble upon this grant opportunity while looking for grants for the school and thought, “What the heck!”
Now, he is glad he did.
With the $3,000 award, Welles plans to purchase more art supplies and make prints of the originals with the goal of having an art show in the early fall.
The Central Minnesota Arts Board is a non-profit organization and is one of 11 regional arts councils designated by the state legislature.
It serves the four-county area of Wright, Benton, Sherburne, and Stearns with the purpose of promoting and encouraging all arts in Central Minnesota.