Kids summer program becomes art for Lanesboro community

This year marks the sixth summer Lanesboro Arts is offering Surprise Sculpture as a summer program.

It allows children to take part in weekly art collaborations.

But instead of taking the work home, the project becomes a new piece of art in the community.

"They get to make large things and the community gets to enjoy them as well as the visitors that come to town," said Kara Maloney, Lanesboro Arts Education Lead.

That’s how Lanesboro Arts summer program "Surprise Sculpture" works.

The program began in 2013.

"It really spurred from the arts campus vision in town, where we use art to solve community challenges," said Maloney. "So really, these kids get to take a part in that vision and they get to use art to beautify the community and create walk-ability for people to go find, and happen upon these really fun installations."

The kids who participate in the program, take great pride in their work.

"My parents drive me in and sometimes I say ‘There is some of the things that we did.’ and they get to see it," said participant Thea Arends.

"A lot of times we see kids bringing their families and friends back to the pieces," said Maloney. "And other kids that haven’t participated, they might come the next week to participate."

Kids come from all over southeastern Minnesota and northeastern Iowa to attend the program, stretching as far as Rochester, Winona, and Decorah.

Even though the town of Lanesboro may be small, a unique summer program such as Surprise sculpture can create a big impact on kids.

"I think this programming really does, because in a lot of rural towns we don’t have A) after school programming and B) arts programming in general," said Maloney. "So having this summer arts activity and sort of like an arts camp for kids to look forward to, they really love it and their creativity just shows. They’re so imaginative, they’re so creative, and so collaborative that it’s really inspiring to see what they can do with just having this opportunity for them."

Surprise sculpture runs every Tuesday for a six week period in the summer

The program is for kids 9 years of age and under and is free to attend.

For more information about Surprise Sculpture, click here.

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