Anholzer honored for art contributions

Ren Gennerman, Copy Editor

Winona State University student Maria Anholzer was one of four 2019 grant recipients for the Winona Fine Arts Commission.

According to a Nov. 8, 2019 press release from the arts and culture coordinator’s office in Winona, the purpose of the fine arts commission award is “to identify individuals and organizations that should be recognized for their support and/or contributions to the arts in and around Winona.” The recipients of this year’s grant were recognized at the Nov. 18, 2019 City Council Meeting.

Anholzer, a third-year art and special education major with a studio art minor, was first alerted to the grant opportunity over the summer by members of the art faculty at Winona State.

When applying for the grant, applicants were required to be Winona residents or enrolled as full-time students at a Winona educational institution.

Artists could request up to $1,000 with the guarantee that the project could be finished within a year of the grant award and that the art would be installed or performed in a Winona municipal space. Applicants could apply for a project using any medium, but Anholzer was the only awardee whose project was a physical art piece. Anholzer was also the only student who was awarded the grant.

Anholzer’s project will include a series of interviews with people from Winona to see how living in the city has impacted their lives.    While she already has a list of ideas of who she wants to talk to, she is also hoping to interact with people she does not know.

“Some people I don’t want to know at all. I think it would be interesting to just meet someone on the side of the road and interview them,” Anholzer said.

Kids First, a program in the Winona Family Community Center that offers services to children from low-income families, is an important program to Anholzer, and she wants to incorporate it into her project.

“As an education major, one person I thought would be really cool to interview is the Kids First leader because I think that’s a really important part of Winona that people don’t know about,” Anholzer said.

In addition to the interviews, Anholzer wants to include different environmental aspects of Winona in her project. Some of her ideas include Bloedow’s Bakery, the Sugarloaf bluff, the lakes and the Mississippi river.

After conducting her interviews, Anholzer wants to take the answers she was given and turn them into a digital collage using programs like Photoshop. Following that, she will plan and draw a large graphite drawing on a building in town.

The money Anholzer requested will be used for anything from supplies to the framing of the drawing. She predicts it will take the entire year to go through the whole process she has planned.

However, the next step before Anholzer can start interviews is to decide where to put the drawing. It needs to be approved by the city and must be a big enough space for the project.

“I was excited that Winona was able to have these options for artists because a lot of art majors are nervous after they graduate about opportunities and what they’re going to be able to do. When this opportunity was brought up to me, I decided to apply because I thought it was important,” Anholzer said. “I’m also excited to be able to learn more about Winona since I’m studying here.”

Alessandra Suply, an assistant professor of drawing and painting at Winona State University, was impressed by Anholzer for even applying for the grant.

“I think a lot of students would be hesitant to apply for a city grant because of their already intense workloads, or maybe they feel like they don’t have enough experience in what they do to have a solid chance,” Suply said. “I’m glad that Maria went for this opportunity, because this is going to be a great experience working on a commissioned public art piece. I think the project speaks volumes about Maria’s go-getter personality, creative skills, and inquisitive and empathetic nature.”

Suply and Roger Boulay, assistant professor and gallery coordinator, were both on the commission but refused to vote in order to avoid a conflict of interest, as they both have Anholzer as a student. However, Suply was glad Anholzer won.

“She is one of the hardest working students I have ever had,” Suply said. “Her eagerness to experiment with different techniques, mediums, and narratives makes Maria’s work inventive and will take her from being a great student into becoming a great artist.”

The other grant awards were given to Mary Farrell to create an original music score for her documentary, Patrick O’Shea to present a spring concert with his community chorus and Sharon Mansur to present a series of film screenings from her original dance film. The public is welcome to congratulate the winners at a holiday reception at the Blue Heron Café on Dec. 9 from 6-8 p.m. with light food, cash bar and live music from the Wabasha Trio.