Arts in the Park to feature Community Corner with local orgs

Glass work is one of the artisan displays at Arts in the Park in 2017 at Gregory Park in Brainerd. Kelly Humphrey / Brainerd Dispatch

Cassie Carey isn’t just getting her feet wet in her new job, she’s diving in head first.

With less than four months under her belt as the executive director of Brainerd Community Action, Carey has her hands full with preparations for two of the organization’s big summer events -- Arts in the Park and the Fourth of July parade.

Arts in the Park kicks off the holiday festivities this Sunday, June 30, in Gregory Park and features artists, food vendors and plenty of family activities.

This year, Carey decided to put her own stamp on the event by creating the Community Corner, a space for nonprofits, churches and other community organizations to get their messages out.

“They’re going to be in vendor spaces educating, promoting, even fundraising if they want,” Carey said while multitasking during an interview Thursday, June 27, as she worked to put the finishing touches on Arts in the Park.


Her goal with the Community Corner, which will feature about 25 organizations, is to better live out Community Action’s mission to “partner with other organizations to build community, empower people to overcome adversity and promote self-sufficiency.”

And of course, there will be art.

For the more than 80 local and regional artists signed up, the event is an opportunity to showcase and potentially sell their crafts.

For attendees, it’s a chance to get outside, spend time with family and friends and support local artists and organizations.

For Community Action intern Maia Trombley, it’s an excuse to spend time around art, a hobby she doesn’t get to explore as often as she’d like as a pre-medical college student.

“I love painting, drawing, that kind of thing. I love that creative outlet, but I never have time for it now that I’m in college, so it’s very nice to have this be a platform for that,” Trombley said as she described the work she’s put in to help Carey with this summer’s events.

A Sartell resident and student at Gustavus Adolphus College, Trombley interns for Community Action from her home most days, but is spending the next couple weeks in the lakes area as the Fourth of July approaches. Though the job doesn’t necessarily apply to her future medical ambitions, she enjoys helping out the community where she grew up vacationing and still believes it will be beneficial in the long run.

“I’m the type of person that believes that any job is going to help you find new skills,” Trombley said. “So I just kind of jumped at the opportunity to work with something new and expand my horizons.”
And for Carey, Sunday’s Arts in the Park event is the culmination of months of speedy and diligent work to spread Community Action’s mission and give back to the community.


“I’m just beyond excited,” she said of the upcoming events and her first year in the new role.

Fourth of July blinky buttons will be for sale for $5 Sunday and can be used to get deals at various local businesses until July 6.

The buttons, along with bottles of water and a silent auction, will serve as a fundraiser for Community Action to raise money for next Thursday’s Fourth of July parade through downtown Brainerd.

Money earned will also go toward a community give-back grant, which Carey hopes to establish this fall to help other local nonprofits accomplish their goals.

Additional events at Arts in the Park include barrel train rides, reverse bungee jumping, a bubble tent, face painting, pottery painting, a blacksmith demonstration and several food vendors.

“It will be a great opportunity to come and just be part of an awesome community,” Carey said.


People stroll past booths at Arts in the Park in 2017 at Gregory Park in Brainerd. Kelly Humphrey / Brainerd Dispatch

Related Topics: ART
Theresa Bourke started working at the Dispatch in July 2018, covering Brainerd city government and area education, including Brainerd Public Schools and Central Lakes College.
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