- Associated Press - Monday, May 11, 2015

NORTH LOUP, Neb. (AP) - A community organization hopes art will help revitalize a small central Nebraska town growing gray with aging buildings and empty storefronts.

Members of the Artissimos club, which has been around for many years in Valley County, work in a variety of media, including photography, sculpture, wood, glass, textiles and painting. It has more than 30 members ranging in age from 14 to 70, The Grand Island Independent (https://bit.ly/1EsI5Us ) reported.

The club’s goal is to provide opportunities to artists and bring new life to the town of North Loup, which has a population of around 300, according to its president, Kate Barr.

“We know she’s old, but she’s not dead yet,” Barr said. “She just needs a little bit of face lift, that’s all. And we think we can do that.”

Artissimos wants to paint a mural on an empty building with white spray-painted windows. They plan to reflect the town’s “pioneer spirit” with images of an old water tower and a windmill.

Previously, the group has filled the empty display windows of a former grocery store with artwork after receiving the approval of the building’s new owner. Member Betty Carlson said the exhibit changes regularly to the delight of residents passing by the business.

Barr said filling display windows and adding vibrancy to North Loup is important because they consider themselves the “gateway to Valley County.”

“We’re proud of our town,” she said. “We like it there. We’d like other people to think well of it when they come through.”

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Information from: The Grand Island Independent, https://www.theindependent.com


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