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News & Views of Phillips Since 1976
Sunday March 3rd 2024

“For little fellers, not the Rockefellers”¦the improvement of people”'s lives”¦the cause of peace and justice.” ”“Paul Wellstone

Gera Pobuda artist, teacher and organizer created this acrylic paint enhanced screen print of Senator Paul Wellstone and donated it to be hung in the Community Center of Hope Community on the NE corner of the Franklin and Portland Avenues intersection.

“I”'m for the little fellers, not the Rockefellers. Politics is not about power. Politics is not about money. Politics is not about winning for the sake of winning. Politics is about the improvement of people”'s lives. It”'s about advancing the cause of peace and justice in our country and the world. Politics is about doing well for the people.” Paul Wellstone”'s voice and life that spoke and lived those words was silenced seven and one-half years ago in a plane crash that killed him, Sheila, his wife, Marcia, his daughter, and five others.*

On Friday, March 19th, Gera Pobuda, artist, organizer, and teacher, unveiled the stunning screen-print portrait she had made of him and is donating to Hope Community. It will be hung on the wall of the Community Center in their newest building on the northeast corner of Franklin and Portland and named for Sheila and Paul Wellstone.

Fittingly, she seems to have been “commissioned” to paint this as a grassroots organizer would be so inspired to do. She found a scrap of wind-blown paper with Wellstone”'s photo on it outside of the Elmer L. Andersen archives at the University of Minnesota while on her way to her screen-printing class. With the photo as a “model,” Gera etched the screen fabric in the likeness of Paul, made the print, and then enhanced the image by hand-tinting with acrylic paints.
Pobuda is a local artist, a recent graduate of the University of Minnesota, and an organizer of Bohemian Flats Day along the Mississippi River . One of her other paintings is currently on display in the “Foot in the Door” exhibit at the Minneapolis Institute of Art. Pobuda is interested in getting in touch with her Bohemian spirit and using the double meaning as a theme in her art. Many of her paintings feature the relationship between Bohemian Flats and her ancestors”' home in the Czech Republic.

The appropriateness of her choice of where this could be displayed is obvious: the Wellstone Building on a corner that just years ago did, indeed, seem hopeless to many. She had seen the new building as it was being built passing it often when biking down Franklin Avenue to her tutoring commitment at the Franklin Avenue Library. Learning it would be named “The Wellstone” confirmed for her the serendipity of it all. William Delaney, a Hope Community staff member, accepted the portrait on behalf of the organization.

It is also appropriate that Hope Community would name one of their three buildings at that intersection, “The Wellstone,” because they, too, “advance the cause of peace and justice” as they address the total wellness of that area of Phillips Community and because they, too, are there “for the little fellers.”
* Five others were also killed; three campaign workers and two pilots.

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