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(Medford GBB) Anna Herr

Medford freshman guard Anna Herr (24) recorded 14 points and knocked down two 3-pointers against Blooming Prairie. (Stephen McDaniel/

Three artists take pride in Healing Arts Program participation
  • Updated

For more than a decade, the Owatonna Hospital — in partnership with the Owatonna Arts Center — has been featuring regional artists in the corridors of the building’s first two floors as part of the Healing Arts Program.

Every four months, new artists and their works are brought in for the exhibit, displaying all types of art from photographers to wire weavers. According to the hospital’s website, the Healing Arts Program was designed because it is known that “human touch, personal caring and overall environment make a difference in a patient’s recovery.”

The hospital and the Arts Center wanted to invest in an environment that not only provided excellent patient care, but also encouraged healing through art.


Minneapolis based photographer Jack Mader discovered a love and passion for photography in high school, and has been working professionally in the industry for more than 45 years.

He also has a love for teaching and taught special education classes in photography for 15 years before moving on to teach a professional photography program in various technical and community colleges in the Twin Cities area.

“Because I was teaching photography, I had to know how to do it all and be diverse,” Mader said. “But in my later years I developed a special interest in abstract and abstract nature photography.”

Emily Kahnke / By EMILY KAHNKE 

New art is up and on display at the Owatonna Hospital for the Healing Arts Program, a partnership with the Owatonna Arts Center. Minneapolis-based photographer Jack Mader uses a technique called Intentional Camera Movement to create a blurred effect in his photographs. (Emily Kahnke/

For his body of work currently displayed at the hospital, Mader used a technique known as Intentional Camera Movement (ICM), which involves moving the camera with a longer shutter speed that results in a blurred and more abstract image.

Mader’s work is no stranger to Steele County; he has had multiple exhibitions at the Owatonna Arts Center. Mader said he had approached Creative Director Silvan Durben in 2020 about an exhibition, but due to the pandemic and already tight schedule, Durben was unsure if the exhibition would happen. The Healing Arts Program, however, ensured Mader’s work would once again be shown in Owatonna.

“I was more than happy to participate in the Healing Arts Program at the hospital,” Mader said. “The hospital is not always a happy place for some people, and I believe art is a way to bring some happiness to the environment.”

Oil paintings

Margaret Masching is a self taught oil painter who focuses on rural landscapes whose art is also currently being featured in the program.

“I’ve been painting for 18 years, but I was never classically trained in art,” Masching said. “I was introduced to oil painting through my neighbor and I ran with it, so to speak.”

Emily Kahnke / By EMILY KAHNKE 

Margaret Masching began painting nearly 20 years ago as a hobby but quickly discovered her talent and said she always paints with a purpose. (Emily Kahnke/

Masching describes herself as someone who loves the outdoors, so it made sense that painting picturesque local landscapes would be her calling. She said she first took some of her paintings to the Steele County Free Fair, where Durben took notice and asked if she’d want to participate in the Healing Arts Program.

“I want to use my passion and talent to benefit others,” Masching said. “The Healing Arts Program seemed like it was a good match.”

Living and working on a farm doesn’t always generate a lot of time to dedicate to painting, which is why Masching said she paints the most during the winter. In order to paint summer, spring and fall scenes, Masching finds a location that speaks to her and takes a photograph, along with writing down notes for her to look back on when she paints that scene in the winter time.

“I take notes and videos and photos to take me back to that place and moment to feel the creativity flow,” Masching said. “I also take notes on the colors and shadows that pictures and videos don’t always translate.”


The third artist currently displaying work is scratchboard pen and ink artist, Jenna Hestekin.

“I started drawing when I was just old enough to hold a pencil,” Hestekin laughed. “I’ve always been into drawing and I first tried pen and ink in 2009.”

Hestekin almost exclusively uses animals as her subjects and creates detailed, realistic drawings of those found on her farm, as well as local wildlife, using nothing but tiny dots with a technique called stippling.

“I’m self-taught,” Hestekin said. “I’ve always been devoted to practicing and exploring new techniques. Along with drawing, I also have a big love for wire sculpture.”

She was invited to participate in the Healing Arts Program after Durben discovered her work at an art festival in Austin, Minnesota.

Jenna Hestekin uses a technique called stippling, which uses tiny dots to create detailed images of animals (Photo Courtesy of Jenna Hestekin)

“I was excited to have been invited to show my work at the hospital,” Hestekin said. “It’s a great opportunity to bring comfort to those in need, and maybe inspire someone passing by to create art of their own.”

The three artists’ work will be on display at the Owatonna hospital until March.

Roy Minter

Champion OHS wrestler Roy Minter. (Photo courtesy of Darryl Hill)

HRC partners with Alliance for Greater Equity for MLK event
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The Owatonna Human Rights Commission (HRC) has been hosting the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Breakfast for many years. This year, they are hoping to expand their reach with this popular event by partnering with the Alliance for Greater Equity (AGE).

“This is the first time we have been able to partner with the commission,” said AGE Vice Chair Rebecca Moore. “What they stand for aligns with our mission and what we want to do, so this was an obvious event to partner on and we all are very excited.”

After not having a breakfast event last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Human Rights Commissioner David Emanuelson said he is thankful for the opportunity to bring the event back and to be developing new relationships with other organizations throughout the community.

“We’ve been working hard to reach a wider audience and spark more interest in getting involved throughout the entire community,” Emanuelson said. “The Alliance is helping us do that with this first partnered event.”

During the breakfast, Dr. Sheldon Eakins will be presenting his program “Living the Dream in 2022,” showcasing how to honor Martin Luther King, Jr. and what he stood for, while applying his vision during his iconic 1963 “I Have a Dream” speech to today.

“The topic of equity has been controversial in our community lately,” Moore said. “I would encourage people to attend and learn more about this topic and more from someone who is well educated on the topic. A lot of learning can be done and it’s always a good thing when you’re open to hearing from others’ experiences.”

According to his website, Eakins founded Leading Equity Center and hosts the Leading Equity Podcast. He has served as a teacher, principal and director of special education for more than a decade. He has a passion for helping educators accomplish equitable practices in their schools and has earned a Bachelor’s of Science degree in social science education, an Master’s in Science degree in educational leadership and a Ph.D. in K-12 education.

Toward the end of the event, the Alliance will be reintroducing the 21-day Equity Challenge. The same challenge was introduced last year by the United Way of Steele County.

“Annette Duncan has been working with us to bring more awareness to the challenge,” Moore said. “United Way entities across the nation offered it last year, and with the MLK breakfast and how much attention this day gets in general, it is the perfect time to reintroduce the challenge and assist people in getting registered.”

The 21-day Equity Challenge provides equity related content for 21 days. The content includes short articles, videos, podcasts and more that generally take no more than 15 minutes to get through. Following the 21 days, AGE will host a coffee and conversation event in February for those who participated, and as a part of Black History Month, to discuss what was learned and the obstacles faced while doing the challenge.

“Not everyone will agree on everything, but that is why we want to have this event to give people room for open conversation and open the dialogue,” Moore said.

The MLK Day Breakfast will be held at 6:30 a.m. on Monday, Jan. 17, at Plaza Morena Campestre Grill. Dr. Sheldon Eakins will be speaking at 7 a.m. The buffet-style breakfast is complimentary.