Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Faribault mural honors Heisman Trophy winner & native son Bruce Smith November 3, 2015

ATTEND A FOOTBALL GAME in Faribault, and you’ll cheer from Bruce Smith Field.

Peruse the Rice County Historical Society, a short distance from the football field, and you’ll discover an exhibit about Bruce Smith.

In mid-June, pop over to the Faribault Golf Club for the annual Bruce Smith Golf Classic.

Head downtown to Buckham Memorial Library and you’ll find a locally-produced DVD titled Bruce “Boo” Smith #54: 1941 Heisman trophy winner.

Faribault's newest mural honors native son and Heisman Trophy winner Bruce Smith.

Faribault’s newest mural honors native son and Heisman Trophy winner Bruce Smith.

Now Faribault has added one more item to its Bruce Smith list—a mural. Last Friday the Mural Society of Faribault installed a downtown mural honoring Smith, who won the 1941 Heisman Trophy for most outstanding college football player. He was the first Minnesotan to garner that prize from the Sportswriters and Sports Broadcasters of America. Smith, a team captain and All-American halfback for the University of Minnesota Gophers, received the award on December 9, 1941, in New York City. That’s two days after the bombing of Pearl Harbor.

Bruce Smith, as painted by Dave Correll of Brushwork Signs.

Bruce Smith, as painted by Dave Correll of Brushwork Signs.

After college, Smith would go on to serve his country as a Navy fighter pilot during WW II. He also played football with the Navy.

The mural includes substantial information about Bruce Smith, a nice addition to the mural.

The mural includes substantial information about Bruce Smith. Click on the image to enlarge.

While researching Smith, born in Faribault in 1920, I learned that he:

  •  played professional football for four years—for the Green Bay Packers and Los Angeles Rams.
  •  starred in a 1942 Columbia Pictures movie about himself, Smith of Minnesota.
  •  nearly died of a ruptured kidney during a 1947 football game.
  •  retired from football at age 29.
  •  co-owned a sporting goods store in Northfield and worked in sales for a clothing store and a beer distributor. (Perhaps F-Town Brewing,  Faribault’s new craft brewery, could name a beer after him; makes marketing sense to me.)
  •  died of cancer in August 1967 at the age of 47.
  •  was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1972.
  •  had his number, 54, retired by the Gophers, a first for the U.
The mural honors Faribault's most-renowned athlete.

The mural honors Faribault’s most-renowned athlete.

Probably the most interesting fact I uncovered is Smith’s 1978 nomination for sainthood in the Catholic church. A man of strong faith, he prayed before and after games and also ministered to young cancer patients. I find this nomination especially notable given today’s often less than saintly behavior among many football players. But from all accounts I’ve read, Smith was a wholesome hometown boy, much beloved by his community. And that, in my opinion, holds an honor as great as winning the Heisman Trophy.

The mural is tucked away on the back of an historic downtown building.

The mural, comprised of panels rather than painted directly onto brick, is displayed on the back of a flooring business.

FYI: The Bruce Smith mural is located on the back of Floors by Farmer at the corner of Central Avenue and Fifth Street Northwest in historic downtown Faribault. The latest mural joins murals of town founder Alexander Faribault (directly across from the Smith mural), Fleck’s Beer, the Tilt-A-Whirl, Ice Skating on the Straight River, historic downtown Faribault overview and the annual Pet Parade. Faribault based Brushwork Signs designed, created and installed the murals.

© Copyright 2015 Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Sources:

http://heisman.com/roster.aspx?rp_id=8&path=football

http://www.minnesotaalumni.org/s/1118/content.aspx?pgid=1307

http://rchistory.org/exhibits/

https://www.facebook.com/rchistory/

http://selco.ent.sirsi.net/client/en_US/far/search/results?qu=bruce+smith&te=&lm=FAR_LIMIT

 

Recycling art in Faribault June 14, 2013

Just a snippet of the art at the Recycled Art Sale, Paradise Center for the Arts, downtown Faribault.

Just a snippet of the art at the Recycled Art Sale, Paradise Center for the Arts, downtown Faribault.

ORIGINAL ART at a fraction of the cost. Check.

One of many pieces of original art for sale.

One of many pieces of original art for sale.

Priced to sell. Check.

A section of the floral painting I purchased.

A section of the floral painting I purchased.

Original painting purchased for $15. Check.

Art of all types is available for purchase.

Art of all types is available for purchase.

If you live anywhere near Faribault and have not checked out the annual Recycled Art Sale at the Paradise Center for the Arts, race down to 321 Central Avenue between noon and 5 p.m. today or Saturday.

I look forward to this sale every year and have found some great pieces, including an original oil on burlap by Mexican artist Jose Maria de Servin and Theodore de Groot LathArt by Austin Productions.

This year I brought home a floral oil painting by P. Willis, whose identity is unknown to me. Pamela? Patricia? Paul? I have no idea. But of one fact I am certain. I love the painting.

Shopping for art.

Shopping for recycled art.

And that’s the type of reaction Gail Kielmeyer, who serves on the Paradise Gallery Committee and the Mural Society of Faribault—sponsors of the Recycled Art Sale—witnesses among many a shopper. “All of a sudden they fall in love with a piece and have to take it home,” she says.

I came very close to purchasing this painting of gladioli. May still buy it.

I came very close to purchasing this painting of gladioli. May still buy it.

I expect that’s exactly what Kielmeyer and co-volunteer Mary Niermann thought as they watched me peruse the Paradise gallery crammed with everything from original pieces to prints to pottery, sculptures, mirrors, ceramics, and even art books. Prices ranged from a quarter for a dish to $400 for four Vietnamese in-laid mother-of-pearl panels which sold on the first day of the sale on Thursday.

Art lovers were waiting in line outside the Paradise for the noon opening of the sixth annual sale. One enthusiast calls the event her “very favorite sale of the year.”

And part of the reason may be the incredibly affordable prices. “A lot of people think original art is expensive and for wealthy people,” Kielmeyer says. Not so at this sale. Prices are kept purposely “priced to sell,” giving art lovers who might not otherwise be able to afford original art (that would be me), the opportunity to own original art.

That de Servin purchased several years ago cost me $7. The de Groot LathArt, $10.

You will find a variety of art from stills to landscapes, abstracts and plenty more priced to sell, many for under $20. Yes. Incredible.

I contemplated buying this barn art.

Lovely rural art.

All of the pieces are donated by people who are downsizing, for example, or remodeling or have had a piece forever. Or the favorite explanation this year heard by Kielmeyer: “We’re pretending we’re moving.”

Some artists come to the sale and buy the art just for the frames.

Some artists come to the sale and buy the art just for the frames. Note the interesting original duo art from Africa, above the frame. Loved it.

So the art some no longer want, need or have space for is now recycled into the hands of happy art lovers like me.

And, as a bonus, the Paradise and the Mural Society make some money. This year organizers hope to bring in $4,000 from the sale, about $1,000 more than last year. The first sale six years ago brought in $800.

Art and more art.

Art and more art.

Interest grows as do the number of donations and the variety of art offered. This year an estimated 1,000 items are for sale. Many had already been sold when I shopped on Thursday evening.  But you could have fooled me. The gallery is still packed with incredible art priced to sell.

BONUS PHOTOS:

For the wildlife lover...

For the wildlife lover…

If you appreciate a still life.

If you appreciate a still life.

For the traveler or the dreamer...

For the traveler or the dreamer…

For those who want to learn more about creating art...books and magazines.

For those who want to learn more about creating art…books and magazines are among the estimated 1,000 items at the sale.

© Copyright 2013 Audrey Kletscher Helbling

 

Pets on parade in Faribault August 8, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 7:34 AM
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Taco the dog, photographed earlier this summer on a Saturday morning at the Faribault Farmers’ Market in Central Park.

PETS AND KIDS equal cuteness, wouldn’t you agree?

Thursday evening the cuteness combination commands several city streets during my community’s Pet Parade—the 76th annual according to information published by the Faribault Parks & Recreation Department.

The kids and their animals will line up in categories like little dogs, big dogs, rabbits, kittens and cats, unusual pets, farm animals, and, at the tail end, horses, of course.

In between, there will be floats and kids in strollers and on bikes, trikes, scooters, skateboards and roller blades. There will be clowns and costumes and perhaps even chaos in this “It’s a Zoo Around Here!” themed event.

I haven’t been to the Pet Parade in many years, mostly because my kids are all grown up and they were the reason I attended.

We never participated in the parade. Our only pets were goldfish. And I probably never told my three they could walk in the parade without a pet. Sometimes parents are smart like that and don’t share details. Just let the kids think that because they don’t own a cat or dog or snake or some other animal, they must simply watch.

I expect I never told them either about the free freeze pops and music in Central Park after the parade. I don’t know if treats are still part of the parade. But the parade still ends in Central Park. This year’s entertainment features zoo animal dances by girls ages 5 – 9 who participated in a Spirit Team summer camp. More cuteness, for sure.

The Pet Parade mural installed on the Central Park band shell.

Central Park is also the site of an artistic tribute to Faribault’s long-running Pet Parade. In May the Mural Society of Faribault installed a Pet Parade mural on the park’s historic band shell, making it the seventh mural the group has placed in Faribault.

Lots of dogs on the left side of the mural…

The artwork definitely possesses that cuteness factor although I wish a few animals besides dogs were featured in the mural.

And what about that date, “since 1939?”

Lots of dogs and that 1939 date on the right side of the mural.

If that date is right, then the 2012 Pet Parade would not be the 76th, but the 73rd annual. Correct? I’m not really all that good at math. And, yes, my kids know that.

FYI: The Pet Parade begins at 7 p.m. on Thursday, August 9, at Ninth Street Northwest and Second Avenue Northwest, proceeds south on Second Avenue, turns west on Fifth Street and ends in Central Park.

© Copyright 2012 Audrey Kletscher Helbling