Asked why she decided to spearhead the Badger Heritage Wall and Veterans Memorial, Sherri Kruger said this.
“About 15 years ago this community gave me a job here at the Badger School as a math teacher and seven years ago when life happens, they gave me a home, so I moved here now. And I just felt it was really time to do something to give back to the community.”
She later said something similar on the verge of tears.
A mosaic artist for the past 20 years, she had watched her work progress, but still wanted to do something larger, like public art, just not knowing how exactly to get involved with it. Last summer, Kruger traveled to Philadelphia to study art under a public artist named Bonnie Fitzgerald. During her weeklong visit out east, she not only worked on art but learned how to find public art calls and how to apply for them. Given a list of public art works to look for by Fitzgerald, she traveled through various sites on the way back home, including Niagara Falls and New York state.
“On my way home, I was like, ‘So, where does this take me next?’ And it kind of dawned on me maybe I should start something at home first.”
She then approached the Badger City Council last April and explained how she wanted to give back to the community. She proposed to them finding a Badger building and creating a piece of art on that building. Believing it to be a great idea, the council had Kruger travel throughout the area to find such a structure.
“The more we looked, the more we weren’t happy with the buildings because of course buildings can be moved, buildings can come down.” Kruger said. “We wanted something more permanent.”
This led to the idea to put the project at Veterans Park along Highway 11. The city and local veterans agreed in pursuing this project at this site, and from then on the project has taken off and become known as the Badger Heritage Wall and Veterans Memorial.
Despite this city, area veterans, and Kruger leading the way, this project, as Kruger emphasized is a community one, including input from past, present, and future residents of the community, or “anyone that has a Badger connection.” To make this a community project, they are asking the public’s help to build this project—this piece of art telling Badger’s story.
People can send donations to this project under “Badger Community Fund Veterans Park Special Project” to Christine Modahl at the Border State Bank (PO Box 69, 202 N Main Street, Badger, MN, 56714). Since being held in this community fund, the donations are tax deductible. People can also contact Kruger if they have any questions by phone at 218-528-4138 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To see more of this story, read the September 7 edition of The Tribune in print or online.