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Divinely inspired

There are more than 40 churches along Highway 10 between New York Mills and Motley, including 14 in Wadena. Each contains art, artifacts and symbols that communicate a spiritual message - visual depictions of faith.

But people don't usually look inside churches they don't attend.

"You never get to see other churches' art work unless you're there for a funeral or a wedding," said Laurel Houselog, a member of Trinity Lutheran Church in Staples.

On Monday, Houselog and her husband were able to see objects from more than 15 churches in New York Mills, Wadena, Staples and Motley on display at an exhibition of religious art in downtown Wadena.

"I think it's wonderful," Houselog said.

Due to a solid turnout - and the availability of volunteers - the event will continue this weekend, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at The Artsplace, which is located in the basement of An Open Book and Harvest Thyme Bistro on Jefferson Street.

Churches from a broad swath of Christian denominations lent a diversity of holy artifacts, from paper mache Wise Men handmade by children at St. Helen's Episcopal Church in Wadena to a tapestry of the Last Supper provided by Staples United Methodist Church.

"The churches in this area are very strong," said ArtsPlace co-director Rowland Joiner, a semi-retired Methodist minister. "The church has always inspired artists. God speaks through various forms of art."

Local artists also contributed several faith-inspired works.

Justin Domogalla, associate pastor at Staples Church of Christ, created a cut tile mosaic of Christ's ascension.

"I've never really shown my art before," he said. "This is a labor of love."

"I love religious art," Domogalla said. "I like how it tells a story and conveys a spiritual truth without using words."

Poetry on the Wall

In honor of National Poetry Month, the walls of ArtsPlace will soon be filled with the written word.

The Greater Wadena Arts League is organizing "Poetry on the Wall," an exhibition and contest that will run from April 14 to May 3.

"Poetry is such an expressive and creative use of our language," said Mim Maas, league president. "Poetry can be used therapeutically, it can be entertaining, it can be for pleasure."

The league will award $25 to the top poets in four adult categories: rhyming, free prose, illustrated poems and poems that make shapes out of words. The winner of a people's choice award will receive $50.

Children will compete in a single category and earn $15 for first place, $10 for second and $5 for third.

Adults can enter for $2 per poem. There is no charge for kids.

Submissions, which are due April 11, can be mailed to the Greater Wadena Arts League, P.O. Box 85, Wadena, Minn. 56482 or dropped off at An Open Book.

Other National Poetry Month events include a poetry chat at ArtsPlace from 5:30 to 8 p.m. April 11 and a poetry workshop at Miracle Mansion from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. April 26.

For additional information and full contest details, check out the arts league's Facebook page or its website,