by MILLIE OMDAL and CLARA LOHMEYER
Public art brings life to a town just like sugar brings sweetness to tea. It is an important part of our community. It is affordable to people who can’t pay to go to an art museum when they want to see art but they don’t want to pay for it. We are pleased to introduce you to our community art. It’s practically an art museum spread out across our town. We really like murals. They are these gigantic pieces of art. There is a specific one we really admire; it’s called “Shoots and Ladder.” This mural was done by the artist Maggie Panetta.
“Shoots and Ladder” is a mural done by Maggie Panetta in downtown Winona. When we interviewed her, we learned a lot about “Shoots and Ladder.” Maggie grew up around an artist, her mom. Maggie doesn’t just paint murals, she’s also a graphic designer, digital illustrator, and paints for local festivals. Maggie manages to paint 6-8 murals a year. When she was younger, she painted a mural with her school. This might have started her idea of becoming a mural artist.
“Shoots and Ladder” means a lot to us because this illustrates what living, or maybe vacationing, in Minnesota is like with all of the beauty and wildness there is to it. We’re so proud to live in such a natural and beautiful environment. To us, Maggie Panetta is really talented. When you really think about it she could have chosen any place. but instead of choosing a place like St. Paul or Bemidji she chose a small town, Winona.
When Maggie paints murals, she usually goes from top to bottom. If they are really big, like this one, she will sometimes use a scissor lift to reach the top. A piece of art this big needs inspiration, so this mural was inspired by Minnesota’s animals. On a human scale, the fox is about as tall as her. Really.
In big murals like this, it’s best to start with the background, which in this case is black. Then she uses one color at a time to fill one part at a time. You can see that there are the same colors in the heron as there are in the racoon, fish, and deer. Maggie says that this can take a long time even with a scissor lift. If you can think of the color-by-number game, you color each number in one at a time (this can take an especially long time with the small numbers that you can’t always see). First you have to find all the numbers (which can be hard when they’re really tiny) but instead you only have a small sketch of it and you have to magnify it times two, which also can be really hard. Plus she could only work on it about twice a week during the summer. Also since she didn’t have all of this paint and supplies just lying around, she had to earn money for this project, which could take months. So she had an art auction, applied for grants and many other ways to get money. Adding on to that she didn’t have many helpers who would help her along the way. Thankfully she still painted it, though.
I’m Clara, and my favorite part is the big flower. I’m Millie, and my favorite part is the whole thing. We are co-owners in this newspaper article.
Public art means so much to us as a community. To us kids, we can’t just drive ourselves to the art museum whenever we want, like you adults, so having all this art around is so nice. Don’t know about you, but we think Maggie Panetta is pretty cool!
Millie Omdal is a fifth grade student at Bluffview Montessori School. Clara Lohmeyer is in sixth grade at Bluffview. The Young Reporters series features articles and columns from the school’s Young Reporters Club.