The Brainerd Public Library added two acrylic painting classes to encourage residents who are new to art to become involved with the Mississippi River Bridge art contest.

Local artist Debbie Blowers will walk new and experienced painters alike through a painting of the bridge. Canvases and all materials are provided, and the classes are free. Those interested may take the class 3-6 p.m. on either June 21 or July 19. There also is space remaining in the class taught by local artist Patricia Lintner 10-11:30 a.m. June 29. Class size is limited to 12 students ages 13 and up. Registration is required by calling the library at 218-829-5574.

The bridge crossing the Mississippi River in Brainerd on Washington Street is the focus of the Brainerd Public Library's art contest this summer. The bridge construction was completed in 1932, and is made of concrete in an art deco style.

Canvases measuring 11-by-14 inches are now available for residents to pick up at the library and create a depiction of the bridge using paint, markers, pen and ink, or any other two-dimensional material. Completed pieces are due back by Aug. 10. The paintings will be hung in the library for the public to view and vote for their favorites. The contest is open to anyone ages 13 and up, and is free.

The Crow Wing County Historical Society and Museum will also create a display from their collection of historical photos and information about the bridge at the library.

This project is funded in whole or part with money from the vote of the people of Minnesota on Nov. 4, 2008, which dedicated funding to preserve Minnesota's arts and cultural heritage.