Lanesboro Theatre District Mural Installation dedication is Saturday

Lanesboro Arts, in partnership with the Commonweal Theatre, is thrilled to announce the installation of the Lanesboro Theatre District Mural by artist Erik Pearson. A celebratory ribbing cutting will occur on Saturday, May 27 at 5 p.m. outside of O’Koren Law Office, where the mural is located. Attendees at the ribbon cutting will get the opportunity to celebrate this mural firsthand after its much-anticipated installation. A happy hour will occur at Sylvan Brewing directly following the ribbon cutting. Lanesboro Arts and Commonweal Theatre’s goals for the mural are to encourage walkability to the north side of Parkway Avenue, create a sense of community pride, and build collaborative efforts to beautify the community.

Brainstormed by community members of all ages in 2019, this mural highlights both theatres but is also a glance back into Lanesboro’s rich history of the people who support the arts in town and help it thrive. The mural was designed to nurture and engage volunteers in its creation process. Lanesboro Arts and Commonweal Theatre commissioned artist Erik Pearson to make a cohesive design from the community brainstorming sessions. Throughout the process, community stakeholders both drew pictures and wrote about key aspects they wanted to see included in the final design. Common themes were that people wanted the history of Lanesboro represented by honoring nature, agriculture, townspeople, cultural and generational diversity and more.

Various motifs can be found within the mural design. There are characters on a stage, audience members in a balcony, musicians, marquee lights, ticket stubs, and more. Specifically, the fairy in the top left represents A Midsummer Night’s Dream, which was the Commonweal’s first play performed in 1989; her dress is an agricultural pattern to honor the farming roots of rural Lanesboro. Key figures within early Lanesboro are also featured within the mural, such as Robert Greer—one of the first businessmen and Lanesboro’s first mayor—and a woman who represents one of the switchboard phone operators.

The mural was painted in October of 2019 with the Lanesboro community joining in to collectively paint the design on parachute cloth (a canvas-like material) that is currently being adhered to the building the week of May 22. Plans to install the mural in 2019 were halted due to the cold temperatures and in following years due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Artist Erik Pearson was the first Artist in Residence at Lanesboro Arts in 2001; shortly thereafter, he quit his job to pursue art full-time. Erik has been creating artwork his whole life and has been working as a full-time artist for many years. “I enjoy telling stories with my artwork, whether it’s through paintings, murals, sculptures or songs. I start with heavy, bold lines, which frame the layout, and then carve into it with layers of color, creating a feeling of depth and volume. My compositions tend to be dense and I use the overlapping images to create a connection, allowing the viewer’s eyes to travel throughout the piece. The end result of one of my works is a story, told through the relationship between characters or objects or simply, presented as a frozen moment in a character’s life.”

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