Painter makes Rochester gas station her personal canvas - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

Painter makes Rochester gas station her personal canvas


A Rochester woman put her artistic skills to good use after she drastically changed the exterior of a gas station in north Rochester.

Colleen spent six months at a gas station with her paint brush in hand, painting over the peeling exterior of Reinke's Corner.

"I just did something that would draw someone's eye," she said of the painted yeti inside a space station on the south side of Reinke's.

"I've just always loved this building and it talked to me and said, 'paint me!"

One day, Colleen was driving down the road and noticed the then run-down station. "People didn't know this gas station was even open." She asked the owner if she could paint it.

"He said, well okay, but I can't pay you." A problem that would soon be solved.

Colleen applied for a $5,000 grant from the Southeastern Minnesota Arts Council in early 2017. She got it, and by April she was already at work.

Her mural of many colors pays homage to the Zumbro River. "My painting is concentrated on this part going through Mazeppa, Zumbro Falls, Hammond, Millville, and Kellogg going into the Mississippi River."

She chose the Zumbro as her focus after the leader of the recycling center where she purchases her painting supplies suggested she represent the non-profit Zumbro River Watershed Partnership.

The mural highlights 24 hours on the Zumbro River and showcases all four seasons. "It starts with the spring, summer, fall, and show's Reinke's corners gas station and goes to the winter."

Colleen has been painting since she was two years old. A passion so strong she decided to make it her life.

"[It] made me quit teaching and concentrate on this, because this is my calling. I should have been an art teacher."

Even though it took her years to focus on her painting, she's at peace when letting her paintbrush speak what words can't. 

Colleen will be at Reinke's Corner on September 30 as part of a 'meet the artist' event. Free cookies will also be available. 


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