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Hormel Institute Wishing Tree Unveiling and Multicultural Potluck

September 12, 2021 @ 4:30 pm - 6:30 pm

Everyone in the Community is Invited!!
4:30 pm – Reveal and ribbon cutting of the tree sculpture (indoor lobby area)
5:00–6:30 pm – Multicultural Potluck – Everyone is asked to bring a taste of your culture to share.
We will kick off the event with a reveal of the tree sculpture created at 4th Ave Fest with artist Sara Hanson. The sculpture was a crowd-sourced, community art project that reflects Austin’s identity.  Enjoy music and hands-on make + take with the WOW Mobile Metal Lab.

The Wishing Tree Project

Austin Area Arts and the Culture and Arts Commission received a SEMAC (Southeastern Minnesota Arts Council) grant to work with public artist Sara Hanson to design and create a tree sculpture and bring her WOW Mobile Metal Lab, a retired city bus turned into a cast metal sculpture workspace, for the 4th Avenue Fest in June for the community and community leaders to participate in the creation of cast metal artwork for the tree.  The Wishing tree sculpture invites you to share a wish on a cast metal “leaf” design and hang it on the tree. Legend has it that visits back to the tree will help fulfill your wishes.

Phase One
Community Leaders Create and Cast Metal Animals for the Tree

 The 4th Avenue Fest kicked off in the morning as community leaders attended a workshop – an opportunity to share, create and have fun with other community members.  They learned how to direct carve into sand molds to design and personalize with imagery, words and symbols.  Some poured metal into their molds and broke them open to see their artwork cast in metal.  The ten cast animals will be added to the Wishing Tree sculpture.

Community Leaders:
Mayor Steve King, representing the City of Austin
Elaine Hansen, representing the Chamber of Commerce
Eva McDonald, representing the Hormel Institute
Kathy Green, representing Austin Public Schools
Trish Harren, representing Mower County
Dora Arizola, representing the Welcome Center
Kris Johnson, representing Mayo Clinic Health System
Sylvia Hernandez, representing Austin Aspires
Rain Sureh, representing Hormel Foods Corp
Shawn O’Connor, representing Riverland Community College

Phase Two
The Community Creates Wishes for the Tree and to Make + Take Home

During the event community members chose a couple of metal “leaf” lead-free pewter cuttlebone castings to hand stamp a wish/symbols, color with inks and hang on the tree sculpture and take home as an ornament, keychain, pendant or sculpture.

Phase Three
Hormel Institute Creates Wishes for the Tree and to
Make + Take Home with
the Optical Eye Castings

Sara’s artwork and process refer to space travel and science, while using lenses and cast metal to explore these concepts.  Inspired by the Cryo-em microscope that is referred to as having similar capabilities of a human on the moon looking down on earth and see pores on skin, she created an Optical Eye casting made from the scleral ossicles or inside of the ocular bone of the Great Horned Owl from Silverwood Park, St. Anthony, MN.  You are invited to create your own Optical Eye casting for a sculpture, pendant, keychain or pin.


September 12, 2021
4:30 pm - 6:30 pm
Event Category:


The Hormel Institute
801 16th Avenue NE
Austin, MN 55912 United States
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