Ely art program wins TSE community award
January 17, 2018
Grand Rapids, MN – Lake Country Power selected Into The Brush, Inc., art program of Ely, Minn., as the winner of its annual Touchstone Energy Community Award. The co-op chose this fairly new grassroots organization for the fine art stones they paint and give as a special memento to comfort individuals who become terminally ill.
“I almost cried reading their application,” said Misty Ryan of Lake Country Power. “You’ve got to love the volunteer work they’re doing to touch people’s lives in such a special and meaningful way.”
As winner of the Touchstone Energy Community Award, Into The Brush, Inc., was awarded a plaque and $500 that will go toward supplies to create the fine art stones.
“Thank you so much; it’s so awesome to be recognized for this year’s Touchstone Energy Community Award,” said Jackie Hartleben, who submitted the application to Lake Country Power.
Joe Baltich has painted 30 Lake Superior stones so far since February 2017. He’s the program director and lead artist for Into The Brush art program and learning to paint programs, which is headquartered at the Red Rock Wilderness Store near Ely.
The Stones of Uplifting Light (SOUL) project is an ongoing endeavor. When individuals become terminally ill, Into The Brush paints and ships a fine art stone to the person to remind them of a more joyous time in their life for therapeutic comfort.
“We research the individual through a family member, friend or acquaintance to learn more about them before painting the stone,” said Baltich. “SOUL stone recipients often have families who get to keep the stones after their passing, and the comments have been heart-tugging and moving. We know we’re making a difference in people’s lives.”
Lake Country Power is one of the Touchstone Energy Cooperatives in Minnesota providing a local community award to encourage and recognize local community contributions. Into The Brush, Inc., will compete with winners from other Minnesota-based electric cooperatives for statewide recognition and $1,000.
Lake Country Power, www.lakecountrypower.coop, is a Touchstone Energy® cooperative serving parts of eight counties in northeastern Minnesota. The rural electric cooperative provides services to nearly 43,000 members and has offices located in Grand Rapids, Kettle River and Mountain Iron.