While getting her graphic design degree at Globe College (now Globe University) Giesla Hoelscher had an assignment to create a collage for a Photoshop class. She loved the project, and after graduating in 2001, the lifelong Saint Paul resident bought a camera and explored the city through her lens. Today, Hoelscher is a digital collage artist and finds inspiration in cities, and the people and stories behind them. “My art has gotten me more interested in preservation and history and really saving these places so the next generation can have their own stories,” she says.
Before setting out to take photos, Hoelscher researches and seeks input from community members. Rather than feature tourist locations, she likes to highlight places that have meaning for people who have lived in a neighborhood for a long time. “I ask them what their favorite places are,” Hoelscher says, adding that she’s inspired by the “strong sense of community and loving where you live” that flourishes in Saint Paul.
Hoelscher’s very first collage was of Saint Paul. She took a photo of the city from Indian Mounds Park and used it as the background; she added highlights including the Marjorie McNeely Conservatory, the Como Park wedding gates, the Landmark Center and Tiger Jack’s, before it was moved to the History Center.