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Celebrate Art! Celebrate Coffee! event set for Saturday in Willmar, Minn.

Joanne Meierhofer, formerly of Willmar, discusses her artwork which will be a part of the raffle during Celebrate Art! Celebrate Coffee! festivities this weekend. (Submitted photo)

Joanne Meierhofer, the artist behind the Celebrate Art! Celebrate Coffee! official poster for 2011, drew her inspiration from an unlikely source -- the annual Minnesota State Fair poster series and its collages of familiar images from the state fair.

"It always was about the fair and I thought it would be kind of fun to do that," Meierhofer said.

The finished pastel is the latest in a series of original posters commissioned each year by the Willmar Area Arts Council, the sponsor of Celebrate Art!

For Meierhofer, who has been involved in the festival for the past several years, it was also a fitting final tribute: She and her husband moved in July to Ashland, Wis., to be closer to their daughter and new grandchild. The poster was completed and delivered in mid-March as the Meierhofers were busy packing their belongings for the move.

Meierhofer chose familiar images associated with the annual art festival -- the vendors' tents, the music stage, a closeup of handmade pottery. The upper right corner is occupied by the bell tower of Bethel Lutheran Church and half a dozen slices of pie; in the center is a sign with the words "free coffee."

To gather all these visual snippets, Meierhofer turned to the festival's official website and the gallery of photos posted there.

"There were lots of good images there," she said. "I tried to tie it all together."

She developed several sketches before coming up with the final design. "I sketched them out in no particular order and then I just tried to fit them in."

Viewers have enjoyed spotting the details, she said. The trumpet player just to the right of the center, for instance, has been easily recognized by many people as local musician and teacher Terry Brau.

"I didn't really plan it that way but it was a great picture of him playing his trumpet," Meierhofer said.

Yellowjackets hover around the pie slices in the upper corner, a nod to their frequent presence at the festival's food booths and efforts by organizers to keep them under control.

The original painting will be raffled off at the conclusion of the festival on Saturday, along with a ceramic vase by Jedd Peters, a painting by Tammi Joy Parsons and a quilt by Carolyn Olson.

Raffle info

Tickets are $2 each and are available at the Willmar Area Arts Council booth and information booth on Saturday. They can also be purchased ahead of time from Arts Council board members, Celebrate Art! Celebrate Coffee! committee members, the Arts Council office in the Willmar Education and Arts Center, Our Frame Shop and Gallery in Willmar and the Kaleidoscope gallery in New London.

Winners will be announced at 3:50 p.m. at the Java Jam stage.

Anne Polta

Anne Polta covers health care, business/economic development and general assignment. Her HealthBeat blog can be found at Follow her on Twitter at @AnnePolta.

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