Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

A controversy over color in downtown Faribault September 30, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 8:36 AM
Panaderia y Pasteleria, a bakery at the center of a controversy over paint color choice in downtown Faribault.

Los 3 Reyes Bakery, at the center of a controversy over paint color choice in Faribault.

MARIANO PEREZ, owner of Los 3 Reyes Bakery in historic downtown Faribault likes the bright green color of his bakery.

“In my country, they use this color every house,” says Perez, a native of Morelos, Mexico. It is, he adds, a “happy color.”

But not everyone in Faribault appreciates the vivid storefront in the 400 block of Central Avenue, an area of primarily neutral brick buildings. Perez was approached about repainting the bakery a more subdued green after some business owners took issue with the color, according to a report in The Faribault Daily News. Businesses even donated monies for repainting when Perez indicated he could not afford to redo the recently-painted bakery.

The entire situation has created quite a stir in the community based on comments made on The Daily News website. And rightfully so. Why should Perez have to repaint the building? He’s breaking no laws, ordinances or historic district guidelines.

Rather, here is a man who simply wanted to improve the building he rents and did so by choosing a paint color common to his culture. So what if it doesn’t resemble every other building in the block or downtown?

You might expect Perez to be upset about the whole controversy, but surprisingly, he isn’t. “I don’t want to change (the color), but I do what city say,” he tells me. “We can paint any color. I like to see the building nice. It doesn’t matter to me. No problem to change color.”

But, Perez adds, “More people like it. I think two people don’t like it. I don’t know why they don’t like it.”

Numerous people have stopped at his business, encouraging him to keep the “very nice color,” Perez says.

I agree. He should keep the “happy color” that reflects his culture, and his demeanor. He’s done nothing wrong. Perez is living the American dream by running his business in a free country. He’s bringing business to downtown Faribault. He’s also meeting a need in the community.

That said, I admire Perez’ positive attitude and genuinely sincere and cooperative spirit. I doubt I could be as gracious. I expect that had this been anyone else, lawyers would already be engaged in the issue.

Half a block from the bakery, Books on Central sports new coats or purple and orange paint. Will this building be next on those pegged for a new paint job?

Half a block from the bakery, Books on Central sports new coats of purple and orange paint. Will this building be next on those pegged for a paint make-over?

In the 200 block of Central Avenue, Banadir Restaurant offers a colorful storefront to those patronizing the Somali business.

In the 200 block of Central Avenue, Banadir Restaurant offers a colorful storefront to those patronizing the Somali business. Will this be the next target?

I've never known what business occupies 117 Central Avenue, but the color choice certainly makes it stand out from other buildings. Should this get a new facelift too?

I've never known what business occupies 117 Central Avenue, but the color choice certainly makes it stand out from other buildings. Should this get a face lift too?

Personalizing, I can't stand the color of these government-mandated recycling bins, which clutter the Faribault landscape. I also don't like the blue color the city paints bridge railings. And once my neighbor painted her house a hideous bright blue. I have nothing against blue, but this simply illustrates that everyone prefers different colors. Now, if only we could take up a collection to buy say green recycling bins...

Personally, I can't stand the color of these government-mandated recycling bins, which clutter the Faribault landscape. I also don't like the blue color the city paints bridge railings. And once my neighbor painted her house a hideous bright blue. I have nothing against blue, but this simply illustrates that everyone prefers different colors.

You'll find brightly-colored buildings in the La Boca neighborhood of Buenos Aires, Argentina. Although primarily a tourist destination today, the area is surrounded by houses with painted sheet walls of different colors. Photo by Miranda Helbling.

You'll find brightly-colored buildings in the La Boca neighborhood of Buenos Aires, Argentina. Although primarily a tourist destination today, the area is surrounded by houses with painted sheet walls of varying colors. Photo by Miranda Helbling.

Argentina's presidential palace, La Casa Rosada, is painted pink. This is the back of the palace in a photo taken by Miranda Helbling.

Argentina's presidential palace is painted pink. This is the back of La Casa Rosada in a photo taken by Miranda Helbling. Different cultures, different colors.

So what do you think? Should Mariano Perez repaint his bakery a subtler green?

So what do you think? Should Mariano Perez repaint his bakery a subtler green or leave the color he chose?

(Watch for a future blog featuring photos taken inside this charming ethnic bakery.)

© Copyright 2009 Audrey Kletscher Helbling and Miranda Helbling

 

Meander to the Meander in western Minnesota

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 8:26 AM
A native willow chair welcomes Meander visitors to Stony Run Woods near Granite Falls, the studio of Dale and Jo Pederson. Photo by Pam Nedrud.

A native willow chair welcomes Meander visitors to Stony Run Woods near Granite Falls, the studio of Dale and Jo Pederson. Photo by Pam Nedrud.

Local musicians, including Jerry Ostensoe and Richard Handeen, will perform from 6 p.m. - 10 p.m. Friday at the Old Milan School Building in Milan. Photo by Kristi Link Fernholz.

Jerry Ostensoe and Richard Handeen are among musicians performing Friday evening at the Old Milan School Building in Milan. Photo by Kristi Link Fernholz.

IF YOU’VE NEVER explored western Minnesota, this coming weekend would be the ideal time to pack up the car and head west. Or if you’re from the region, Oct. 2 – 4 offers an opportunity to explore your backyard.

The area is showcasing the works of about 50 artists during the annual Meander Upper Minnesota River Art Crawl. You’ll view a broad range of arts from photography, watercolor paintings, pottery, quilting, folk art dolls, rosemaling and more during this self-guided tour.

Visitors will experience the arts, history and culture in and around Ortonville, Appleton, Madison, Milan, Dawson, Montevideo and Granite Falls. It’s land I know, because I grew up in Redwood County, a bit to the south and east.

This is a place of big skies and open spaces and, in those areas where the Minnesota River twists through the land, an especially beautiful landscape in the fall. With trees changing colors and corn and soybean fields ripening to the shades of harvest, plenty of scenic vistas abound.

Artists will welcome visitors to locales like Moonstone Farm, the Milan Village Arts School and Java River Café. Those folksy names speak to the rural nature of this place.

Meander hours are 2 p.m. – 6 p.m. Friday, 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. Saturday and 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. Sunday. Special musical events are planned from 6 p.m. – 10 p.m. on Friday in Milan and beginning at 7:30 p.m. Saturday in Dawson.

For more information, including a downloadable brochure, go to www.artsmeander.com Or call 1-866-866-5432.

Special thanks to the Prairie Waters Convention and Visitors Bureau (www.prairiewaters.com) for sharing the above photos with the readers of Minnesota Prairie Roots.

Gene Tokheim displays a piece of stoneware. Photo courtesy of Minnesota Office of Tourism.

Gene Tokheim displays a piece of stoneware. Photo courtesy of Minnesota Office of Tourism.

Shoppers admire artwork in Milan. Photo by Kristi Link Fernholz.

Shoppers admire artwork on display in the tiny town of Milan. Photo by Kristi Link Fernholz.