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Remodeled art gallery honors Clarence Hoesing

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HARTINGTON - The Hartington Public Library will have a special rededication during Candlelight Christmas on Friday, honoring a man who was instrumental in its evolution for a quarter century.

Clarence Hoesing was a community leader in Hartington up until his death in 2016 at 90 years old. During that time, he founded RaDec Construction Company, was on the Library Board for 25 years, and much more.

Because of his contributions, he will now be honored and remembered at the library with “Clarence’s Corner.”

“For Candlelight Christmas we want to rededicate the area and call it Clarence’s Corner inside the Worth Art Gallery,” said Library Director Tami Anderson.

Hoesing is being honored for his integral part of making the library what it is today. Anderson said he volunteered to do a lot of work inside, and he was instrumental in the addition to the library in 1998. The addition expanded the library to the north and enabled the old building to be turned into an art gallery.

The addition allowed for an expanded library, and Anderson says Hoesing played a big part during the transition.

He loved the library, he served on our board for 25 years, and he did a lot of the inside work as far as volunteering to finish off the new part of the library,” said Anderson. “So he had always talked at our board meetings about adding a reading room onto the library. This is just the board’s way of honoring him and his legacy.”

The art gallery has been closed since July as renovations have been made to transition it into a reading area like Hoesing always envisioned. 

There has been a reading corner in the northeast corner of the library, but Anderson admits that can often be overrun with children after school and Clarence’s Corner aims to be a spot for adults to escape and read at the library.

“Clarence had built those pillars so we wanted to turn it into this adult reading lounge,” said Anderson. “There is a fireplace up there, we have historical black and white photos, we have a coffee bar, and it is just kind of a quiet meeting area for people to come.”

There is also a portrait painting done of Hoesing by his daughter Jane Kathol. The painting was framed by Hoesing’s son, Kent, and it proudly hangs next to the couches looking towards the fireplace.

Kathol started her painting in June, shortly before the renovations started. She says she worked from a few different photos to help create the piece.

“I had three or four different pictures from his 50s and 60s that I worked from,” said Kathol. “I had my brothers come in as I was doing it, as well as my husband and kids, and had them advise me on things as well.”

Kathol said she was “absolutely thrilled” when she heard about the idea for Clarence’s Corner, saying “That library was his life. He built onto the original building. He built that entire other section.”

With her family helping her with suggestions for the painting, and her brother Kent doing the framing, it was a true family project, and Kathol says that can be seen in the piece.

“There are books behind Clarence because I wanted to show some of his favorite books,” said Kathol. “He loved history, spy novels, intellectual novels, but most of the titles are inside jokes that only the family would understand.”

With the rededication taking place at Candlelight Christmas on Friday night, Kathol says her family, along with her siblings will be in attendance for it all.

“Some of my brothers are coming up too,” said Kathol. “Kent, who is my younger brother did the framing on it. The frame has oak and walnut around it and it has 90 separate pieces to it.”

The rededication will take place at 5 pm on Friday, and the library will be open until 8 pm that night for anyone interested in seeing the newly unveiled reading room.

Funds for the renovation were provided by the Hartington Library Foundation and the Friends of the Library.

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