PUBLIC ART, WHEN RESEARCHED, well thought out and created by talented hands, enhances any community. Montgomery, Minnesota included.
Recently, this town of some 3,000 in Le Sueur County unveiled a new historic-themed mural done by former long-time Montgomery resident and artist Victor A. Garcia, now of Belle Plaine.
The latest 40-foot long painting replaces a weather-beaten mural Garcia created about 25 years ago.
Like the previous scene, the new mural depicts a view of the town’s main street, First Street, around 1900. But this time, both sides of the street are included in the painting.
Garcia also featured “Montgomery Identifiers” to search for in his artwork. Like kolacky. This Czech community is, after all, the self-proclaimed “Kolacky Capital of the World.”
Right across the street from the mural sits Franke’s Bakery, a popular local source for this fruit-filled Czech pastry.
Cardinals are also painted into the mural, honoring the former school mascot, the Redbirds, before schools merged and the mascot became the Titans.
A Czech flag and the Green Giant and many more details incorporated into the mural depict the history and heritage of Montgomery.
Garcia even added some personal touches in images and words.
This mural calls for close study, not just a quick drive-by or look. Next visit to Montgomery, I’ll take more time to study the details I missed. For it is in the details that we learn the intricacies of a community and its history. And grow to understand and appreciate that which defines a place.
FYI: This $20,000 project was funded and supported by the Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation, The Montgomery Community Foundation, Prairie Lakes Regional Arts Council, individuals, businesses and more.
This concludes my series of blog posts from Montgomery.
© Copyright 2020 Audrey Kletscher Helbling