Northern Minnesota Artist Design Art for Babbitt

The library is home to art that is custom designed and unique to Babbitt.

Babbitt Public Library is now home to works of art by several N MN artists.

Darilyn Ronn, Babbitt art teacher, suggested and created a great project that included the art of local children. Babbitt students drew images of characters in their favorite books. Darilyn used these images to create two wonderful collages, which are displayed in the children’s section of the library. An accompanying banner of the same was presented to Northeast Range School. Darilyn is a native Minnesotan with a Fine Arts degree from UMD. She has a passion for painting, drawing, and photography. Darilyn and her husband, Dan, are remarkable photographers.
Margie Iraci,, fabricated layers of steel, copper, and aluminum. These were manually cut, ground, and buffed to catch light. “Nature Calling” features a lake scene to depict the natural area surrounding Babbitt. Incorporated into this piece are items from the Babbitt area . Look for taconite, pellets, core samples, a drill bit, a shovel, and rocks from Birch Lake and Dunka River. “Northern Nights” silhouettes a rocky outcropping and trees, a moon behind. This design is also etched into the legs of the granite bench. The paw prints in the slab under the bench are those of Paula McKenzie’s Winter, a Reading Education Assistance Dog. Margie is also a native Minnesotan with a career in welding which evolved from industry and construction to art. Margie’s passion is about producing art that makes people feel good.

Ron Benson of Duluth presented the library with a hand-carved glass sculpture depicting a stylized surge of water spiraling upward from which a figure emerges, book in hand. (Water Sprite? According to author Lise Lunge-Larsen in “The Hidden Folk,” river sprites live behind waterfalls.) The glass itself is recycled from windows of the former Two Harbors High School. Ron looks at this as a fresh and positive way to promote sustainability, especially since recycling plants do not accept window glass. His goal is to create eco-friendly art that enhances the quality of space in which people inhabit. Ron’s glass molding process can be viewed on YouTube by searching Ron Benson Waves of Glass. Also viewable online, “Breaking the Mold of Business as Usual,” an article in Living North of the Duluth News Tribune 2008, features Ron’s work.

This wonderful art comes to Babbitt through the Minnesota Clean Water, Land, and Legacy funds which promote the arts and Minnesota artists. In November 2008, Minnesotans passed the clean water, land, and legacy amendment to the Minnesota Constitution. Proceeds from the arts and cultural heritage fund “may be spent only on arts, arts education and arts access and to preserve Minnesota’s history and cultural heritage.” For the two-year period from July 2009 through June 2011, the Minnesota State Legislature has appropriated a significant portion of the arts and cultural heritage fund to the Minnesota State Arts Board and Minnesota’s eleven regional arts councils. These funds will help make high-quality arts experiences more accessible and available to Minnesotans throughout the state.