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Artist recreates amusement park

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Artist recreates amusement park
Detroit Lakes Minnesota 511 Washington Avenue 56501

Kiddieland memories are coming back, one drawing at a time.

Detroit Lakes High School 2004 graduate Danika Leitheiser has completed her second drawing, in a series of three, of Kiddieland and the rides that once existed.

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"The ferris wheel was my favorite ride," she said.

The ferris wheel, the horses and the little roller coaster are the three highlighted rides in the second print. The boats, airplanes and barrel cars were depicted in the first. Watch for the Big Slipper in the last print.

"I've had a lot of people asking, 'Where's the slide?' I told them I didn't think I was going to put it in there, and they just all seemed really disappointed, so I decided to figure out a way to do it."

It's those memories that fueled Leitheiser to make the drawings in the first place, and the comments from others to decide what rides go into her pieces of art.

"I've shown it to a few friends, and it seems like the second drawing has sparked a lot more memories for people," she said. "The Kiddie Coaster especially."

The first print is hanging in the Detroit Lakes Chamber of Commerce, and the second will be there as well.

Leitheiser said she didn't pick the rides she put into her drawings based on favorites -- except the ferris wheel, that is -- but it was more about how well she could get them to fit together.

Just waiting for the former owner to get pictures to her, Leitheiser plans to have a quicker turnaround on the third drawing.

"At this point, I'm a lot more serious about it," she said, "so once I have the picture, it's going to be an instance drawing."

There is a Facebook page dedicated to the Kiddieland drawings, and people can purchase prints through Etsy. There is a link on Facebook to Etsy.

"For the past six years, I've always considered myself an artist, but I never took it too seriously I guess. It was just a hobby, when I felt like it. There were plenty of times I told myself, 'I don't know if I'll ever paint again. I don't know if it's my thing.'"

But, in the last six months, she's decided it is her thing and that she's going to concentrate on her art.

"I enjoy it a lot more. The more I spend time with it, they develop a lot better."

Leitheiser, who lives in the Twin Cities, has been working to establish herself as a known visual artist. She has created a website, rendermeyellow.com, for people to see her work and follow her career. She can also be found online at www.mnartists.org.

She was working at a law firm until she was laid off, which has turned out to be a blessing in disguise.

"It's allowing me to focus exclusively on this right now," she said.

Leitheiser also worked to organize the visual arts portion of a benefit for a recording studio in the Twin Cities. The show was Friday.

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