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Prairie Star awarded to Mattson of New London

WILLMAR -- Robert Mattson of New London received the 2009 Prairie Star Award at the annual celebration of the Southwest Minnesota Arts and Humanities Council in October.

The Prairie Star Award was established to honor a distinguished artist whose work exemplifies the highest quality of art in the SMAHC region.

New London artist Andrew Nordin nominated Mattson for this award. Nordin wrote "Bob has been making art as a professionally trained artist in the Willmar/New London area for the last 40 years. During this time he has displayed integrity of commitment to his craft at a level that is reserved and categorized as being of the highest achievement. Bob continues to create artwork that is highly imaginative, expressive and relevant to the discourse of painting that is being practiced by artists in Minneapolis, New York, Paris ... and Central Minnesota."

Mattson is philosophical about his art. He states, "I think art takes on meaning based on two things. First, the relationships and synergies provided by the artist and second, the background, intelligence and experiences of the viewer. The first part is the same for everyone but since the second part can never be the same for any two people the number of meanings will be exactly the same as the number of viewers. I like that. It allows the viewer to get into the act, so to speak."

The Prairie Star Award is intended to act as a catalyst and an incentive for other area artists and to make known the high regard in which SMAHC holds artists who have given of their lives and talents to create and sustain the arts in southwest Minnesota.