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A Conversation with Artist Leah Friesen on Economics of Public Art in Rural Minnesota

Image of a public art sculpture near KAXE studios in Grand Rapids Minn.
A public art sculpture near KAXE studios in Grand Rapids Minn.

Grand Rapids artist Leah Friesen and Chair of the Grand Rapids Arts and Culture Commission Kari Hedlund (also known as KAXE/KBXE's Music Director), spoke with Heidi Holtan on the Morning show to learn about the importance of public art in rural areas in Minnesota. Click the player at the top of the page to hear the entire conversation.

In this conversation about the importance of public art in rural spaces, we hear about different art projects happening around the Grand Rapids area. Keep your eyes open for murals painted near storm drains in the downtown Grand Rapids area, a new sculpture along the Mississippi just across the river near the Blandin Foundation, and others.

To hear a different conversation about public art in northern Minnesota, check out this conversation with artist Aaron Squadroni that was featured earlier this summer on KAXE/KBXE.

This series is made possible by the arts and cultural heritage fund and the citizens of Minnesota.

Heidi Holtan has worked at KAXE/KBXE for over 22 years. She currently helms the Morning Show as News and Public Affairs Director where she manages producers, hosts local interviews and programs, oversees and manages web stories and establishes focus areas of programming like phenology, clean energy, Indigenous voices, Strong Women, local foods, clean energy, economic development and more. Heidi is a regional correspondent for WDSE/WRPT's Duluth Public Television’s Almanac North. In 2018 Heidi received the “Building Bridges in Media” award from the Islamic Resource Group for her work on KAXE/KBXE hosting conversations about anti-Muslim movements in rural Minnesota. During the pandemic, Heidi hosted 14 months of a weekly statewide conversation on COVID-19 for the AMPERS network.
Kari (CAR-ee) is originally from South Dakota … a state often referred to as the land of infinite variety. As Music Director at Northern Community Radio, Kari has taken that theme to heart with her ability to feed a community of listeners hungry for an infinite variety of music and ideas. Along with her trademark lipstick and husky voice … Kari also raises a family … and Baguettes when time permits
Max Philbrook (he/him) is a Producer at KAXE focused on telling the stories of the people, events, and organizations that make up the fabric of northern Minnesota. Based out of Grand Rapids, Max spends his time reading fiction at the library, seeing sports and live music, and supporting the arts and cultural events in the area. Get in touch with Max if you have a story to tell, an event to publicize, or just want to chat about life in the northland.