In the fall of 2017 Springboard for the Arts asked me to create an illustration for totebags that would be given away as a prize for participants who successfully finished a city-wide picnic scavenger hunt in Fergus Falls — a rural Minnesota community (population 13,138) about an hour from Fargo, North Dakota.
The scavenger hunt was created by local artist Chelsey Beilhartz as a fun way to stir up civic pride, to help residents think creatively about how to eat healthy meals, and to support locally-owned, independent businesses in the process.
As a prize for completing a challenge like that, I knew the totebag needed to feel like a worthy tribute to the Fergus Falls community — which has garnered national attention in recent years for its arts-oriented approach to community and economic development. I also knew that Fergus Falls is home to a well-loved, 150-foot sculpture known as Otto the Otter — and that it’s the county seat of Otter Tail County.
So I decided to draw my own take on the tiny animal, and in an aesthetic style that celebrates the agrarian heritage of greater West Central Minnesota.
In the future, I’d really love for the artwork to be repurposed into vinyl stickers that Fergus Falls restaurants can use to demonstrate their committment to using local, healthy ingredients.
Photography: Springboard for the Arts — Lake Region
Client: Springboard for the Arts
My Role: Illustration