Ardent Mills

Temporary artwork by local artists will be in place in the window wells of Arden Mills in Old Town through June of next year.

MANKATO — An Australian artist is to soon begin work on a massive mural project on the Ardent Hills silos in Old Town, but the mill is already sporting some new artwork from local talent.

Ardent Mills and Twin Rivers Council for the Arts teamed up to give five local artists a chance to paint designs on panels that are installed on the ground level window wells at the mill, along North Riverfront Drive.

Local artists were invited to submit a design and five were chosen early last month. The chosen designs focused on the spirit, history and culture of Greater Mankato, according to Twin Rivers.

Selected artists include, Amber Rahe, Holly Dodge, Josh Winkler, Geno Okok and Rachel Gemlo. Each artist received a $500 stipend to paint their design onto a panel provided by Ardent Mills.

The artwork will be on display until June of next year after which they will be auctioned off with funds benefiting future CityArt projects.

Ardent Mills intends to continue to process with five new artists next year.

Australian artist Guido van Helten is expected to soon start painting giant murals on the silos next to the Veterans Memorial Bridge.

He needs up to eight weeks to complete the massive project, so weather will be a factor in whether van Helten can complete it this year or will return to finish up next year.

But van Helten, who is more accustomed to the warm climes of his Southern Hemisphere country, has experience in working in harsh Midwest weather. Last year he finished a mural on silos in Fort Dodge, Iowa, in mid-December with snow on the ground.

Those silos, at 110 feet, are just a bit smaller than the 122-foot Ardent Mills silos. The Des Moines Register reported van Helten rigged up heating on the boom he was working from to keep warm and to keep his acrylic and aerosol paints from freezing.

Twin Rivers led a successful fundraising effort to cover the estimated $250,000 cost of the mural project.

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