MARSHALL - Renowned artist Terrence Fogarty loves to combine the innocence of youth with athletics in his paintings - whether it's a child lacing up a pair of old skates on a remote skating pond or a group of young boys playing a pickup game of baseball out behind the barn.
But his latest piece - the last of three downtown Marshall murals to hit the street - will provide the Southwest Minnesota State University graduate with a unique challenge: He doesn't have a say on who his subjects will be.
That will be determined by a special community raffle going on throughout the summer. It won't be until August when Fogarty and everyone else will learn who those subjects are when a month-long raffle concludes with a drawing at Marshall's Sounds of Summer celebration at 7 p.m. on Aug. 16 in the parking lot behind the Landmark Bistro.
Pictured is an artist’s rendition of the Sports and Recreation mural that will go up on the south wall of the Varsity Pub in downtown Marshall sometime in 2013. The actual mural will be in color.
"It is unique; I've never done anything like it before," Fogarty told the Independent earlier this week. "Normally, I pick and choose my subjects and models, but this is kind of Russian roulette with who I get. But I think with kids, I'm pretty safe. There aren't too many kids I can't work with."
The "Sports and Recreation" mural is part of the Marshall Mural Project, a multi-year community effort to develop and implement visual imagery through three public arts murals in downtown Marshall. The other two murals are "Marshall's Music" at the corner of Main and 4th streets and "At the Bend of the Redwood" located at the intersection of 3rd and Main.
A hard-core researcher, Fogarty is known for putting plenty of legwork into his paintings, but likes the mystery that comes with this project.
"I'm going to have to figure out a way to work with whoever is going into the piece," he said. "That's my job, to work with them and get some good, candid images of them playing."
The mural is an artist rendition of more than 40 Marshall youth sports programs that were provided to Fogarty. He said part of the beauty of working with young athletes in his paintings comes from the images captured away from the field - a sort of outside-the-box approach. He said kids are known to do some quirky, fun things at the youth level that only add to the innocence. It's those moments - a kid drawing pictures in the dirt during a T-ball game - that he's looking to capture and capitalize on.
He stressed the mural will portray a very realistic style as opposed to a loose representation.
"It will be very high-realism," he said.
Fogarty is also excited about this project because it brings him back to Marshall and gives him another opportunity to give back to the community through his talents.
"That's probably one of the more exciting parts about it," he said. "I still make my way back there every couple years for something involving the school. It makes it doubly special."
He said the mural, which will go up on the south side of the Varsity Pub wall, will have quite an impact to downtown Marshall. His original painting will be enlarged and secured to the wall, possibly in panel form. The finished product will be about 20 feet high and anywhere from 60 to 70 feet wide.
Organizers of the sports and recreation mural are aware of the fact that raffle winners may be the parent of a wrestler or dancer - two activities that won't be represented in the mural. Marshall Community Services Assistant Director Doug Goodmund hopes that doesn't deter people from entering the raffle.
"Over 40 sports were submitted to Terry and, of course, you can't get 40 in there," said Goodmund. "He selected a few. It's my interpretation that if the winner's son is a wrestler I would bet that son probably played football, or T-ball, or experimented with golf. The idea of a youth amateur sports mural is variety, it's not target-specific."
"I think we need to take it back to the art," said Becky Wyffels of MAFAC and chairwoman of the Marshall Mural Project committee. "We are not dictating how he designs the mural. We gave him the information, he comes up with the design. This is a work of art to express the joy and enthusiasm of amateur sports. It's a reflection of the whole community, it's not to satisfy individual needs. I understand people's interest, but this is a mural for the whole community."
Four winners of the raffle will be able to select their favorite athlete to be a model, whether it's a child, grandchild, niece or nephew. Winners also have the option of using an old photograph if the child they choose no longer satisfies the 6- to 13-year-old age requirement.
Goodmund said it's even possible the winner can submit a photo of him/herself at a young age. If the eventual subject is currently between 6 and 13 years old, he or she will be photographed by Fogarty. The raffle is open to residents outside of Marshall as well, but his or her hometown team will not be depicted in any way in the mural.
Tickets are $50 apiece and will be available at MAFAC (532-5463), Marshall Community Services (537-6767), the Marshall Area Chamber of Commerce (532-4484), the Marshall Area YMCA (532-9622), and from various sports organizations in Marshall. The Marshall Youth Amateur Sports mural raffle campaign will close Monday, Aug. 13. The choice of model must be named by Aug. 20.
Packets of raffle tickets are being distributed to businesses and groups in Marshall, and the two top-selling organizations will receive a print of the mural to use for a fundraiser or display at their business.
Wyffels said the goal is to sell at least 500 raffle tickets.
Since the goal of the project is to add to the enhancement of the quality of life of Marshall's citizens, attract tourism and provide incentives to business to locate in the city and thereby expand Marshall's economic base, Jacob Fahl of My Marshall sees the mural project as a means to those ends.
The My Marshall group works to promote the community, while looking down the road to Marshall's future. It's focused on growth and economic development from places to eat and places to shop to larger projects like the proposed regional amateur sports facility and an expanded MERIT training center. Fahl said bringing more amenities to Marshall means more people will come, which means more foot traffic around town.
"We're supportive in trying to get those things done and sell tickets for the Fogarty raffle," he said. "We're here to support this project and want people to know about it. We don't want to hear, 'Well I never knew this was going on.' We want to make sure everybody knows about it."