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People Stories

Of all the amazing things that make up our region, the most amazing of all are the people! Of all the things we want to write about, our highest priority is to write about the folks doing creative things. Let us introduce you to just a few of your neighbors in these Greater Mankato Area people stories!

Piano keyboard

John and Gail Carpenter: The Singing Sweethearts

John and Gail Carpenter have been singing many styles of music together from the time they were in college.
An antique wooden box, decorated with traditional Norwegian Rosemaling design

Keeping Norwegian Folk Art Alive

Joan Hurry, Mary Sherwood, and Nancy Sullivan have been keeping the Norwegian folk art of rosemåling alive in the Mankato area for the better part of fifty years.
Submitted Photo - Merrill and Karen Frydendall

For the Birds: Mankato Couple Identifies Thousands of Birds Throughout Lifetime

Mankato couple Merrill and Karen Frydendall are serious about birding and have identified thousands of birds throughout their lifetimes.
Featured Photo courtesy of the Blue Earth County Historical Society, Marian Anderson Gallery website - Closing Time by Marian Anderson.

Remembering Marian Anderson

Mike Lagerquist brings us a touching tribute to Mankato area artist Marian Anderson who passed away on January 26, 2021
Photo by Casey Ek - While the pair considered themselves close friends prior to Dang’s stroke, the rehabilitation process has caused them to grow closer still.

Regaining Freedom: Chudier Dang and Alex Murphy

Chudier Dang and Alex Murphy were friends before Dang's stroke. The life-changing event brought them even closer together.
Photo and art by Brittany Wegener - Scorpio natal light charm

Artist of the Month: Brittney Wegener

Brittany Wegener is a mixed media artist creating three-dimensional art and who has used her art for personal growth. You can see her craft on display in January at The Fillin' Station.
Photo by Jim Denomie - Detail of "Beautiful Witches" - 2020 - 24x30 oil on canvas

Distinctive and Daring: Jim Denomie at the 410 Project

Jim Denomie, originally from Hayward, Wisconsin, is an award winning artist garnering national and international attention. His most recent work will be on display at The 410 Project in Mankato from January 8-24.
Piano keyboard

Making Music: St. Peter Singer Kay Koehler Boasts Decades-Long Career

St. Peter resident Kay Koehler has sung backup for dozens of big-name country music stars in her decades-long career.
Photo by Calla Defries - Matt Atwood in the role of Jesus in Jesus Christ Superstar at Mankato Playhouse.

A Full Circle Passion: Matt Atwood 

From insurance to performance to the award winning a cappella group Home Free then back to real estate, Matt Atwood's passions have come full circle.
Fresh herbs from the garden

Healing by Nature’s Intent – Elizabeth Willett

Elizabeth Willett has been on a long path to becoming an herbalist and wellness counselor.