The Free Press, Mankato, MN

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May 8, 2014

Wheel comfortable: 410 Project, Key City Bike collaborate on annual art exhibit

410 Project, Key City Bike collaborate on WheelWorks exhibit

Examples of Pat Kelly's handiwork can be seen all around Mankato.

As a longtime contributor and now executive director of Key City Bike — the volunteer-run Mankato non-profit that recycles, rebuilds and resells used bicycles — Kelly has worked on countless pedal-powered machines. Cyclists are certain to have seen his work on trails and roadways. And visitors that peer into the organization's 1429 Riverfront Drive headquarters are likely to see several examples hanging from ceilings, lining the walls and awaiting his attention in the back room.

But Kelly also toils occasionally on less road-viable, but equally functional, projects. And those wanting to catch a glimpse of that artwork have only one chance: the 410 Project art gallery's upcoming WheelWorks exhibit.

"It's a slow process," Kelly said when contacted in late April about his participation in the exhibit that opens Saturday. "But I've got something in the works."

Last year, that "something" was a large, low-slung chair made entirely of used bike parts.

The frame of the chair was made from a half-dozen rims and a set of handlebars. The backing was made from a couple dozen junk tire tubes.

Intended to be just as functional as the bicycles he repairs, the chair was one of the most impressive pieces of last year's exhibit— and much more comfortable than it might seem.

"It's not bad at all," said Kelly, who added to his velocipede-inspired home collection by fashioning an end table and bookends for this year's exhibit. "I had it at my house for a long time as a computer chair."

Now in the third year of a collaboration between the 410 Project and Key City Bike, the WheelWorks exhibit is all about such bicycle-inspired art.

In addition to Kelly's creations, visitors will find more than 30 pieces of art, including Brian Gosewisch's working lamp made from bike parts, submissions from participants in the 410's recent children's art class, and a selection of paintings, prints and sculptures made by area artists.

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