Downtown Thursday a hit for area residents
With crowds rolling into downtown and beautiful blue skies above, the premiere of Owatonna’s Downtown Thursday event could definitely be called a success.
“I think people are really excited,” Owatonna MainStreet Director Shirley Shultz said prior to the celebration getting underway. Schultz envisions this as a regular monthly feature for next year, and this introductory showing only proved that the event may well have a future in Owatonna’s historic downtown. Venders and craft artists lined South Cedar with tents and booths and surrounded Central Park, girding in those there to take in the live music and meet and great other residents on Thursday afternoon.
One of the many artists there ready to showcase their work was Mary Carstensen. She sells handmade jewelry and relished the chance to share her art. “I think it’s exciting,” she said of the event, “and it’s just another piece of the revitalization efforts downtown.”
“I always thought about looking into Rochester’s Thursday event and thought it was a cool idea,” Carstensen explained. Now, she doesn’t have to look too far from home to show off her work.
Carstensen has been selling Jewelry for 20 years, and initially started crafting her own after running her own store downtown for many years. She found that some of the jewelry she would order would arrive broken or in need of repair, and so she started to learn the intricacies of jewelry design.
“I thought I should just make my own jewelry,” Carstensen said, noting that she started out with the basics like beads and then got into leather, and founding metals. Since then, she has continued to expand her artisan repertoire. “I keep trying to do something different each year, that way I don’t get bored.” Her mother was a bit of an artist, and Carstensen credits that with helping to inspire her to pursue a career within that arena. “She started with rosemaling and moved into watercolor,” Carstensen recalled. Rosemaling is a traditional type of folk painting with roots in Norway.