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Business gives students a place to display art

Art has always been a way of expressing one’s self, feelings or mood.

For children at Halverson Elementary School, it’s not only that, but it also has some perks.

In the last few months, Sarah Hensley, who owns Intego Insurance Services, and Jessica Bremer, an art teacher at Halverson, collaborated on something that is rather unique.

Intego Insurance Services recently moved into a new office on Front Street in Albert Lea, and Hensley noticed there was a blank wall in the office space that needed to be filled.

Hensley’s sister, Rachel, also works at Halverson and connected her and Bremer for a chance to show off student artwork in the office space — something both welcomed with open arms.

“I started talking with my sister earlier this fall and knew there was a need to recognize and just give some more love and attention to kids in the Albert Lea school district,” Hensley said. “We were moving our office to Albert Lea and had a blank wall, and I thought it would be awesome if we could fill it with artwork. That’s how I got connected with Jessica.”

Hensley said Bremer was supportive of the idea from the very beginning, and it also gives Bremer and her students a lot of joy.

“It been a great connection to our community,” Bremer said. “Any way you can foster art and bring these kids into the community for not just their social well-being, but their mental well-being is great. And the kids are crazy about it.”

From left, back row Sarah Hensley and Jessica Bremer pose for a picture with the students who have their artwork hanging on a wall in an Albert Lea business. – Jarrod Peterson/Albert Lea Tribune

Whether children have a passion for art or not, Bremer said this new addition has been exciting and the students look forward to it. Bremer said she spends time talking with her students about craftsmanship.

“We talk about taking our time with projects,” Bremer said. “We always talk about situational things like ‘you wouldn’t want to have a house with poor craftsmanship, nor would you want to display a piece of art with poor craftsmanship.’ We talk about taking your time with works of art.”

Bremer teaches art in grades kindergarten through fifth grade and is in her 10th year of teaching — her fifth year at Halverson.

Bremer said art is everywhere in a person’s life, and she’s not wrong. From digital media to moviemaking, to the things in someone’s house, people are surrounded by art and things someone or something created.

One thing that stuck out to Hensley was the first time she came to hand out the certificates and bags.

“I realized how much it meant to the kid,” Hensley said. “Someone of these kids may not be the spectacular athlete or feel comfortable going out for a part in a play, but art is something they can kind of carve, develop this skill and have for the rest of their life.”

Hensley also said having the artwork in the business space has pleased a lot of customers.

“A lot of our customers come in, and their eye is immediately drawn to the works of art on the wall,” Hensley said. “It is so unique and different, and people are excited about that.”

Hensley said once the winter season is over, she hopes to gather artwork from other elementary schools in the Albert Lea area so those children have a chance to display their work.

“It has been a snowball effect,” Bremer said. “Just being recognized by the community and other people, the kids love it. Every kid is wondering, ‘When are we going to know who the next one is to have their work on display?’ It’s only been good things.”

Hensley reiterated Bremer’s comments, saying she has only had positive feedback from people in the community.

“It makes my day, week or month,” Hensley said. “I wish we had more wall space, but I think it’s something we can continue for a long time. I’m excited to see what the future holds.”