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For the birds

Two area artists started a project with particular guidelines: it had to be bird-themed and the artwork had to fit in a shoebox

July 16, 2011
By Cindy Votruba , Marshall Independent

MARSHALL - It started off as a private conversation about birds between two artists from Worthington.

The project's original intent was to create ideas and find out more about each other. The two artists, Tricia Mikle and Kathleen Kusz, who once resided in Marshall, had certain parameters for it: each piece had to fit in a shoebox, the pieces had to pertain to birds and the art also had to be two-dimensional.

The project, titled "A Bird Conversation," is on display through Sept. 30 at the Southwest Minnesota Arts and Humanities Council's art gallery in Marshall.

Article Photos

Photo by Cindy Votruba
Worthington artists Kathleen Kusz and Tricia Mikle created the exhibit “A Bird Conversation” which is on display at the Southwest Minnesota Arts and Humanities Council’s art gallery through September.
The pieces of art had to fit inside a shoebox.

Kusz lived in Marshall from 1981 to 1990, serving as a law clerk for District Court Judge Walter Mann and as an assistant county attorney.

She said her love of art started back in college when she went to the Smithsonian and saw an exhibit on papercutting.

She had also taken a couple of drawing classes in college.

"I found a book on the traditional form of papercutting," Kusz said. She went to a medical supply store to buy a pair of surgical scissors

Kusz exhibited some of her papercutting at the gallery at Southwest State University. She took a sabbatical in the early 1990s where she went to Japan and was in "paper heaven."

Then she moved to Worthington.

"When I got down here to Worthington, I met people in the art community," Kusz said.

She said she was encouraged to try watercolors by a fellow artist. Kusz said the art is a good counterpoint to what she does as a lawyer, which is mainly linear thinking.

"It's a very nice release," Kusz said about creating art. Kusz said she even traveled to Europe with the college in Worthington, learning about composition, perspective and color.

"I took my watercolors along," Kusz said. Soon after the trip to Europe, Kusz had a joint art show with members of her family at the college in Worthington.

The idea for the "Bird Conversation" started from another bird-themed project done by another artist, Kusz said.

At Mikle's retirement party in May 2010, Kusz showed up with a shoebox. The two would pass the shoebox back and forth, adding a new art piece with each exchange.

"The point of the thing is we had one rule, it had to fit in there (the shoebox)," Kusz said.

The box got fuller and fuller and the two ended up with roughly 30 pieces of art related to birds, which even includes nests and eggs. Kusz said people continue to add to the "conversation."

"So it's an ongoing conversation," she said.



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