The Artist

Who says you can’t go home again? Certainly not artist Carly Schmitt, who is returning from Germany to her hometown of Vadnais Heights to create a community art project.

Schmitt, who attended Vadnais Elementary, graduated from White Bear High School, and is achieving critical acclaim across the nation and internationally, will soon be collaborating with people who live and work in the city on the Make [Y]Our Mark community mural, planned for Vadnais Heights Commons.
“Each community member is invited to embellish a pre-painted 1″x1″ tile to be part of the larger mural that will, in the end, contain more than 11,000 pieces, a number roughly equivalent to Vadnais Heights’ population,” said Schmitt. “Up close, you will see the individual contributions but, from a distance, the individual details will fade out as a larger image of the community landscape emerges.”

There is no charge for people to participate.

Schmitt’s vision is extraordinary because the finished work will mirror the community, both literally and figuratively, said Mayor Sue Banovetz. “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts, a premise the community has proven true by how we come together to achieve success and deal with challenges, such as those that took place over the past six months,” she said.

Growing up, Schmitt skated on the ice where Vadnais Heights Commons now stands and attended Halloween bonfires and Heritage Days events. Her longest-lasting friendships are with people she grew up with. “My community helped create who I am. Now, I want to return to give back to my community and create something beautiful with them.”

After graduating from Macalester College, Schmitt received the prestigious Alexander von Humboldt German Chancellor Prize, an award given annually to 10 young United States professionals who demonstrate outstanding potential for future leadership. She was the only artist chosen. In Germany, she worked with the Bauhaus University, researching public art and community art initiatives. She went on to earn her M.F.A. from the Bauhaus University.

Schmitt’s work can be found throughout the world and from coast to coast in the U.S. in businesses, homes, galleries, and public spaces. Locally, she created “Victory Garden,” a publically funded 35′ x 20′ mural located at the intersection of Como Avenue, Dale Street, and Front Avenue in St. Paul.

To meet the requirements of the Metropolitan Regional Art Council’s grant, the city needed to partner with two organizations or businesses. Merrick, Inc., and S & T Office Products, both located in Vadnais Heights, stepped up to the plate as project partners.

More information about the artist can be found on her websited: www.carlyschmitt.com

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