“It was serendipity meeting with Michelle (Lake) – and one thing led to another and then all of sudden, hey we got a project,” says sculptor Mick Classen as he reflects on the two-year journey to bring the Faces of Lloydminster to life.
He realized that the public art he was creating in his garage of six-foot, 300-pound concrete faces would be too big to manage on his own.
Over time he sought funding and support from various sources and his neighbour, artist Michelle Lake gave him encouragement to keep going.
“We live near Mick and Ruth. We walk by and his garage is always open – that’s his studio. And he showed me all of his prototypes and how he built them. And he was asking me what you think of this and are you on board. And I said, yes, I am,” confirms Lake who is painting two of the faces. One is going to Mother Teresa’s school and the other is for the city.
Classen says when they posted the idea to local artists, they got 27 people who wanted to paint the massive concrete faces.
Classen is grateful to community partners who stepped up including Musgrave Agencies, MNP, Synergy Credit Union, Gold Horse Casino and Lloydminster & District Co-operative.
“So, we had funding. Perfect. So, that’s one of three things that we needed. Now where are we going to build these things. That’s where Tyler (Lorenz) came in. So he said, “You can use our space. We will get our folks at Residents In Recovery to volunteer and they will help you out.” Because I’m not building 17 alone.”
Starting last fall, they met at Residents In Recovery – the old bus depot and built the concrete faces which the artists would then be able to paint.
Then the discussion switched to where to display the public art.
“Schools. So we got the two school divisions and Lakeland College on board. Those were the three components that had to work. And that’s how it happened.”
Classen has wrapped up his workshop and local artists are continuing to paint the faces.
More public unveilings of the art project will be forthcoming including a collaboration at College Park school with its students and artist Brandi Hofer.