Featured artist from Owatonna

Published 6:59 am Saturday, July 28, 2018

The seventh annual Austin ArtWorks Festival returns to the heart of downtown Austin with Owatonna-born mosaic artist Michael Sweere as the Featured Artist.

The second floor gallery of the ArtWorks Center will house Michael Sweere’s Featured Artist exhibit including works in tile mosaic, recycled materials mosaic, paper mosaic and wood sculpture incorporating found objects.

Sweere was born in Owatonna and earned a degree in commercial and technical art from Mankato Tech Institute. In 1985, he relocated to the Twin Cities and spent the next 20 years employed as an art director, illustrator and graphic designer for numerous advertising agencies.

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In 2005, he retired from the commercial field to pursue fine arts and formed the Michael Sweere Mosaic Company, LLC. He resides in Minneapolis with his wife, Carole, and their dog, Ladybug.

Working with primarily recycled and salvaged materials, his commissioned artwork installations can be seen at airports, educational facilities and health care institutions throughout the United States.

Some of Sweere’s recent honors include:

• Commissioned to create the 2016 Minnesota State Fair Commemorative Poster. His creation, “Lucky the Lama,” went on to win the first place award at the International Association of Fairs and Expositions (IAFE) communication contest.

• Installed a commissioned tin mural, “Between Clouds,” at Sioux Falls Regional Airport in South Dakota in February 2017.

• Wood sculpture, “Cinnamon the Robot,” received the Excellence in 3D Award at Artistry’s 41st Annual Members’ Juried Art Exhibition in November 2017. Artistry is a Bloomington-based non profit arts organization.

• Installed a commissioned mosaic, “The Gift,” at Lakeview Hospital in Stillwater to honor the memory of a longtime surgeon, Dr. Robert Meisterling, in December 2017.

“Much of my work incorporates recycled and salvaged objects and locating this material is a favorite pastime. I frequent salvage and thrift stores looking for dinner plates, tin objects, old books, lumber and ceramic tile. Often, my creative process unfolds with the discovery of new materials. It’s fun, it’s unpredictable and it always keeps things fresh,” Sweere said.

Sweere will be present at his exhibit during the ArtWorks Festival. Visitors can visit with him in the second  floor gallery at any time.

There are two other opportunities to interact with Michael Sweere: contribute to the community mosaic project that he will create during festival or catch a presentation, “A Discussion with the Artist” on Sunday, Aug. 26, at noon.

Coming soon at the Paramount Theatre

• $5 Movie: “The Neverending Story,” Wednesday, Aug. 1, 3 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

• World Music Series: Alash, Tuvan Throat Singing, Wednesday, Aug. 8, 7:30 p.m.
$5 Movie: “Old Yeller,” Wednesday, Aug. 15 at 3 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

• Puddles Pity Party: Saturday, Aug. 25 at 7 p.m.; the Schindler Celebration event at the Austin ArtWorks Festival sponsored by Mayo Clinic Health System-Austin. Reserved seating tickets are $25 advance and are 57 percent sold at press time.

Coming soon at the ArtWorks Center

Open Clay Studio, Tuesday, July, 31 at 5 p.m.

Open Clay Studio, Tuesday, Aug. 7 at 5 p.m.

Family Art Studio, Saturday, Aug. 11 at 1 p.m.

Teen Drawing Class, Wednesday, Aug. 15 at 2 p.m.