Mural to focus on history of Little Falls’ west side

Artist, educator Frank Gosiak wants kids involved in the research, creation 

By Terry Lehrke, News Editor

In the spring, a mural project will transform the west wall of the former IGA grocery store on the west side of Little Falls into a mural portraying the history of the west side of the city. Frank Gosiak, artist and educator, wants to work with kids who will help with the research and painting of the mural.

The west side of Little Falls is steeped in history and west side resident and artist Frank Gosiak wants to bring that history to life.

Being an educator, Gosiak also wants to get the younger generation involved in the process.

Gosiak approached Bob Riitters, who owns the former IGA building, which once housed a grocery store and now sits empty. Riitters gave him the go-ahead to create a mural depicting the history and accomplishments of what is fondly called in Little Falls, “The West Side.”

Riitters said the store, which was also once a Red Owl grocery store, has been empty since 1998 or 1999. “We’ve cleaned it up and kept it up,” he said.

Gosiak envisions high school aged kids, kids who have driver’s licenses, from all over the county to come to help if they want to. It will be an education in both history and research and art and process.

With the experience of several murals in the city Gosiak has a lot to teach anyone who is interested. The murals Gosiak has under his belt can be seen on Pete and Joy’s Bakery on Broadway East in Little Falls, the mural on the Hauer Brothers Electric building and the mural on the building on Broadway West a block east of Lindbergh Drive.

This building is 15-feet high by 97-feet wide. That poses no problem said Gosiak. He’s worked on projects 40-feet high by 400-feet wide.

The kids will be the driving force behind what the west side mural will include and look like.

“The kids will have to do the research to be able to show the achievements of the west side of Little Falls,” said Gosiak. “Where the ‘West Side’ came from, some of the accomplishments, some of the old buildings like the Antler Hotel, perhaps the Dewey-Radke House. Whatever the kids decide.”

Plans are for the project to begin in spring 2013.

Before that happens, Loren Boyum, retired vocational director with the Mid-State Education District, will write grants to fund the project. Boyum was involved in writing several different grants in that position.

Any grant money received would fund materials needed for the project.

“Frank is a civic-minded individual and is not looking for a salary,” Boyum said. “The grant is just for the materials and whatever other things that are involved.”

Those materials include incidentals, said Boyum, such as paint, brushes or scaffolding rental.

“It could be a lot of expenses that are involved in a project of this size,” said Boyum.

Those who would like to be involved in the project, may call Gosiak at (320) 616-7001.