Greenstone’s Mission: to enhance the quality of life in the Ely area through the creation of public works of art and to provide educational opportunities for the benefit of the general public. By this we will participate in the creation of an environment which encourages the community of artists to utilize their talents to the fullest extent.
Ely Greenstone Public Art began in 1998 with the completion of the Greenstone sculpture project at Whiteside Park, created by artist Mike Sinesio and funded by Forecast Public Artworks, Donald G. Gardner Humanities Trust, as well as donations from the public and City of Ely.
Children’s painting panels were popular at Harvest Moon Festivals and Children’s Art Camp started in 2001 continues today.
The first Ely Greenstone Public Art mural, a mining scene by artist Bill Defenbaugh, was completed in 2000. Since then, four additional murals have been painted on buildings in Ely.
2002 brought Greenstone’s involvement with the Ely Winter Festival activities. From the snow carvers’ Icebreaker reception, to the Beginner’s Snow Carving workshop, Greenstone has played an integral part in this winter activity.
The Holiday Workshop began in 2004. Building gingerbread houses and making Christmas ornaments, this workshop is for children of all ages and grown-ups.
In 2005 Greenstone hosted a day-long Adult Art Camp. Painting with oils, throwing pottery on a potter’s wheel, life drawing and carving stone are just a few of the activities that were offered.
2006 was a busy year for new art programs. February brought the first 6th Grade School Art Residency Project with a 6-day stained glass class taught by Claire Taylor. Each of the two 6th grades completed a window showcased at a popular business during the Winterfest ArtWalk.
In July 2006 Greenstone held its first Juried Art Exhibit and Reception. With a Cordon Blue chef flown in from Hawaii and some of the most influential artwork in Northeastern Minnesota on exhibit, it was standing room only. To round off the 2006 art year in Ely, Greenstone had the first “Fintastic Fish” auction. This was a major fund-raiser for Ely Greenstone Public Art. Since then the group has held a “Chair-ity Auction” and a Blank Canvas Auction. In 2013 the event will be Blank Canvas: The Essence of Ely Challenge.
Ely Greenstone Public Art is a non-profit organization as defined in Section 501(c)(3) of the IRS Code.
Funding for Ely Greenstone projects has come from a variety of sources. Artists in the area are fortunate that they have benefited by the sale of a city-owned painting which had hung in the Public Library since 1944, donated by then summer resident Donald G. Gardener.
Other sources for Greenstone projects have been: Forecast Public Artworks, Arrowhead Regional Arts Council, Donald G. Gardner Humanities Trust, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Iron Range Resources, City of Ely, Ely Chamber of Commerce and private individuals and business firms.