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A 'welcome mat' similar to one created in Portland, Ore. will be introduced Saturday at the library with all ages and abilities welcome to contribute to the project. (Submitted photo)

Welcome mat to be created for GFO

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News Park Rapids,Minnesota 56470 http://www.parkrapidsenterprise.com/sites/default/files/styles/square_300/public/fieldimages/22/0304/webvertical-rug.jpg?itok=JVbivWv4
Park Rapids Enterprise
(218) 732-8757 customer support
Welcome mat to be created for GFO
Park Rapids Minnesota PO Box 111 56470

The Park Rapids lakes area will be rolling out the red (green, yellow, blue) carpet for the governor on fishing opener.

Literally.

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A monstrous, multi-colored woven "welcome mat" will be created in the next few months, the work targeted to accent the first block of Main Avenue during the Governor's Fishing Opener May 9-13.

Nemeth Art Center director Meredith Lynn is organizing the community art project. Jill Odegaard, an art professor in Pennsylvania who has ties to Park Rapids, is the mastermind behind undertaking.

"It's a metaphorical weaving of people," Odegaard said of inviting people to come together, to share reflections and insights, as well as interlacing fibers.

Saturday, Feb. 16 all ages are invited to meet the artist and try their hand at the looms from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Park Rapids Area Library.

Participants will weave small pieces of rug that will be tied together to form the large-scale welcome mat.

Looms will be provided. No skills, tools or materials are necessary. Odegaard, who orchestrated a similar project in Portland, Ore. will arrive to put the project in motion.

Weavers will use recycled textiles to be provided by the Developmental Achievement Center, or by the artisans themselves. The fabric is cut in 3-inch-wide strips.

Weaving a section will require an estimated 45 minutes, Lynn explained. "The size depends on the individual."

But people can work for 10 minutes, if they choose, Odegaard said.

Kids are welcome, and will be engaged in the process at area schools during Odegaard's visit, Feb. 13-16, and afterward, with Lynn's assistance.

Lynn hopes to engage civic and church groups to add their signature to the creation. A list of participants will be on display once the work is complete.

Native Americans have been invited to perform a drum circle on the mat during the Friday, May 10 community picnic event.

When the GFO is over, the rug will be broken into individual pieces for display, given back to their creators whose names will be stitched on the back.

And a book will be compiled, photos documenting the evolution of the project and with reflections shared.

Lakeland Public Television has been invited to film the masterwork in progress.

For more information or to host a weaving session, contact Lynn at meredith@ nemethartcenter.org.

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Jean Ruzicka
(218) 732-3364
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