­Our Artmobile Story

There once was an art student and her teacher — and the two became friends.

The Artmobile journey began when a passionate college art instructor, Bobbie Alsgaard-Lien, taught one of her students, Gail Holinka, about the community-building power of ART!

The dynamic duo began working together in 1991 offering children’s art activities at the annual community festival, Art in the Courtyard, sponsored by the Nobles County Art Center in Worthington, Minnesota.  Since that time, the two have collaborated on many community art projects for both young and old. 

As strong advocates for the arts, Bobbie and Gail have traveled the United States to share their programming and collaborative art projects with others.  They have been the recipients of many grants over the years that have fostered growth in public art, as well as opportunities to offer various arts programs to the citizens of Worthington. After working together as fellows of the Intermedia Arts Creative Community Leadership team in 2017, the two began developing the idea of an Artmobile.

Funded by a grant from ArtPlace America in 2015,  the Southwest Minnesota Housing Partnership (SWHMP) created the Partnership Art initiative to develop art and cultural strategies that can be woven into the community planning process to engage a greater cross section of residents that are not typically present in the local decision making process. An asset mapping process identified transportation in Worthington as a major concern, with misperceptions on who can access public transit and a lack of transit options for night shifts at the meat processing plant.  Transportation is also a factor contributing to economic and racial disparities within Worthington. 

It was serendipity. Bobbie and Gail proposed their idea of an Artmobile that would provide opportunities for arts-based community engagement to the citizens of Worthington. In February 2018, Partnership Art awarded a grant to the Artmobile project and the artists’ dream became a reality.

Bobbie and Gail joined forces with the Southwestern Minnesota Opportunity Council (SMOC) and the City of Worthington to purchase one of their decommissioned public transit buses for transformation into a mobile art lab. Artmobile’s first project will be to collaborate with SMOC to inform the community about the safe and affordable public transportation options available in the Worthington micropolitan area.

The Artmobile officially hit the road in May of 2018!  The hopes and dreams for the hardworking artists of the Artmobile, will be to log many miles, collaborate with local organizations, and help to improve the quality of life for the citizens whose lives will be touched by the moments shared creating art.