Regular walkers at the Kilowatt Community Center will have notice an uplifting change in scenery along the walking path that wraps around the facility. Instead of the old black and white photographs documenting the history of Granite Falls that were previously hanging on the walls, residents can now enjoy full color pictures depicting nature scenes alongside inspirational quotes during their exercise routine.
The new art installation is the work of local resident Betsy Lavin. Most know Lavin as the owner of the Lavin Family Chiropractic Center in Granite Falls. However, Lavin is also a budding interior designer. She is currently earning her diploma with the Interior Design Institute and says that she has “loved designing and decorating my entire life.”
Recently, Lavin redecorated her chiropractic retreat center. The calming design and use of inspiring photos and quotes caught the eye of Granite Falls EDA Director Cathy Anderson. “She approached me and thought I would do a great job at updating the KCC,” Lavin said. “I put some ideas together and took it to the board and KCC staff and they liked what they saw.”
According to Director Nick Richter, the city had already been contemplating updates for the KCC. “We felt it was time to do a little updating [and] freshening up,” he explained. “We have repainted the walls a couple times, but it was time to change the landscape a little bit.” So, the KCC set aside some money in their general budget for a needed facelift.
At the onset, Lavin said that she was inspired by the unique opportunity. “The moment I saw those long beautiful walls along the walking path of the KCC I knew large murals would be a good fit. They needed color and life, so I chose images from nature and amazing landscapes,” she said. She said her goal is to make “people walking and running the track feel like they are transported to these stunning places depicted in the murals.”
Lavin also wanted to include inspirational quotes that match the murals. “Let's face it,” she said, “exercising on a regular basis can be hard and so if the quotes I chose can motivate the walkers to hang in there and to stick with it, the rewards are tremendous.”
Some of the quotes are her own invention, but others came from comments she heard while exercising at the KCC. “One day when I was walking the track, getting a feel for the space, I strolled passed another walker,” she said. “He apologized for going so slow. Another gentleman came behind him and said, ‘It's not about speed, it's about style.’ I loved those words and knew they would be one of the seven quotes to be used.”
To create the murals, Lavin partnered with Murals Your Way, a creative design company based out of Hopkins. She selected the images she wanted to use and they printed the murals. Lavin cut the murals to size and pasted them on foam board to create a solid mounting panel. “This was a bit of a challenge, making sure that there were no wrinkles or air bubbles,” she reflected, adding that “it just takes patience and good knee pads.”
The accompanying quotes are mounted on plexiglass sheets purchased from Granite Falls True Value. Jim Schrupp was even able to custom cut the panels for Lavin. “Just another perk that living in a small town brings,” she exclaimed.
Lavin hopes that walkers “feel uplifted through the nature scenes and inspired by the actions of the people in the pictures. I also hope they get a sense of gratitude and appreciation for life itself, to cherish every day, every step they take and to not be afraid to step out and reach their goals.”
According to Richter, the KCC has already received positive feedback from walkers. “I think it has turned out good, and we have had some nice compliments about the updating,” he said.
For KCC regulars wondering what happened to the old photographs that once lined the hall, Richter said that the KCC was in the process of enlarging some of the pictures and plans to hang them on walking track. Additional murals will be installed in the main hallway later this year.
Lavin says she’s immensely grateful for the support provided by the KCC Board and the City of Granite Falls. Although she enjoyed working on the project, Lavin says she doesn’t have any plans to quit her chiropractic anytime soon. “Don't worry, I love chiropractic too, and have no plans of giving that up. But I do have to think about how to best care for my body and so I have started to limit my chiropractic hours so I can continue working for a few more years,” she said. “Now I have the best of both worlds.. chiropractic and interior design.. how lucky am I?”