Downtown Winona is about to get a little more colorful. Local artist Sarah Johnson has paired up with gallery owner Jovy Rockey, of Jovy Rockey Jewelry Studio & Gallery, to create an outdoor mural for the Third Space grant project.
“This is an excellent opportunity for us to allow another local artist to shine and give an example of how businesses and local artists can work together in ways that benefit everyone,” said Rockey. “Through this project we can add more color and beauty to our downtown as well as visual interest. I’m so happy to be a part of this project and hope it will inspire new and similar visual art projects in our downtown.”
“I am so excited to be able to work with Jovy on this project that is fun, and also supports businesses in our beautiful downtown,” said mural artist Johnson, who will be designing and painting the four-by-eight foot panel. “I am always inspired by nature, and would love to bring the inspiration of nature to our streets with a mural I’m titling ‘Full Blooms.’” The design includes many large, friendly — and certainly colorful — flowers over a background that features the world famous Mississippi River.
This mural project is part of Artists on Main Street, a partnership between Winona Main Street, Minnesota Main Street and Springboard for the Arts with support from the Bush Foundation. Other grantees have brought life to Main Street with projects ranging from drummers, Treedome’s Shut Down Third Street, the second annual Halloweenona, to youth improv, and more. “We’ve been talking about the need to add some art and color to downtown Winona for a long time, and I’m thrilled that Sarah Johnson is able to make a difference in brightening up the business district,” stated Emily Kurash Casey, former Winona Main Street program manager. “We have such a rich tradition of art and color, and we can still see glimpses of old painted brick billboards that were art themselves. I’m so pleased that Third Space: Artists on Main Street can have such a positive visual impact.”
“I see art as a way to nurture connections with others through play. When we play we can think more creatively and broadly about how to address community needs,” Johnson said. “Art is an excellent vehicle for building empathy and enhancing how we treat ourselves, other people and our environment. Through this project, I’m hoping to inspire more creativity, and get more people out!”
Community members can watch the progress as Johnson paints the panel, which will hang on the east side of Rockey’s gallery on East Third and Lafayette streets. Johnson will be working on the mural starting on June 16. The public is also invited to the official unveiling and to stop into Rockey’s gallery for light refreshments during the Thursday, June 20, “Third Thursday” event, from 4-8 p.m., at 78 East Third Street.