Campaign on to save Minnesota ‘masterpiece of design, color and Scandinavian art’

They belonged to equivalent twins Arvid Swenson and Aaron Swenson, who towered in front of her. Their appreciate for Norwegian art had drawn them to her booth like “bees to honey,” Jenson laughed.

“Hi guys,” she claimed.

“They could not even appear at me and smile. They had to glance absent,” claimed Jenson, recalling their 1st, bashful face.

It was the start of a superb friendship, and the beginning of what Jenson now calls “the ideal years of my existence.”

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The twins from rural Flom, Minnesota, became normal visitors to her home in Milan.

The Swenson brothers are carpenters and woodworking artists in their very own proper. Like Jenson, Aaron Swenson is a gold medal winner at the Vesterheim Norwegian American Museum in Decorah, Iowa. He is recognized for his Scandinavian woodworking, although Jenson, of program, is identified for her Norwegian rosemaling.

During ongoing visits, the brothers reworked Jenson’s when nondescript dwelling in Milan into the Trestuen Back garden Gallery. The brothers commenced by attaching a studio for their really hard-doing the job artist pal right after studying she experienced been essentially trapped a single working day in the hand-me-down creating she had been utilizing.

“One working day, I slammed the doorway shut and the total point went ‘ugh.’ I could not even get out. I experienced to call Delores Thompson to throw her physique against the door so I could get out,” reported Jenson, laughing at the memory.

The brothers reduce conifers from her backyard and produced beams in her home. Trestuen is Swedish for “tree room.” Their craftsmanship and hand-carved woodwork formed the layout area by place, and Jenson painted each individual in Norwegian rosemaling and Swedish dalamalning. Around 50 a long time of her art make this household a function of art in and of itself, and the exact same can be explained for the woodworking crafts of the brothers.

“Everything is created all around the enjoy of mother nature,” mentioned Ron Porep, director of the Milan Village Arts School.

The Milan Village Arts College is now early into a marketing campaign with a intention of obtaining the household from the Jenson family. The intention is to protect the household and sustain it as it was normally meant to be. Jenson and her spouse had ordered the property in the 1960s and raised 4 small children in it.

Jenson, now 86, has been living the past couple of years in an assisted residing facility in Appleton. She would make occasional visits to the dwelling. “Oof, it is tricky to leave it,” she mentioned. “Every time I go again, it really is hard to leave.” She explained she is hopeful for the campaign to conserve it.

The Milan Village Arts College started leasing the property in March 2020, or two months just before the COVID-19 pandemic started. Porep claimed the purpose had been to hire rooms in the home to pupils and instructors taking part in the Milan Village Arts School programs, whilst also maintaining the home accessible for artwork displays, tours and events. COVID has interrupted all those options, but not the mission.

The Milan Village Arts University has lifted $45,000 towards the eventual invest in of the home. The purpose is to increase potentially as significantly as $400,000, with intentions of placing aside an endowment to support fund its ongoing operations and upkeep.

It may possibly seem an ambitious enterprise for a reasonably tiny, folk art school, but a worthy one particular, according to Porep. “Until you see it and wander through the dwelling, you never comprehend how unique the property is.”

He is nonetheless unable to stroll as a result of the household without exploring anything he experienced not viewed right before. The Milan Village Arts College describes the property as a “masterpiece of design and style, color and Scandinavian artwork.” It contains a gallery, portray studio, grasp bed room, Swedish bed room, Norwegian bedroom, library and Swedish-impressed kitchen. The property is surrounded by gardens that mirror Jenson’s passion for gardening and nature.

Porep and the Milan Village Arts College are optimistic about achieving the target of preserving the Trestuen Yard Gallery. That optimism is bolstered each time he has the prospect to direct somebody by means of it. Invariably, he said, they are “amazed.”

For facts on how to guidance the marketing campaign, check out