The White Bear Lake area is full of beautiful landscapes and businesses we have all come to love. Tally’s Dockside, Lila & Claudine’s and Cup and Cone play a large part in our lives, and Nino Nardecchia works tirelessly to capture those aspects of White Bear Lake on his notecards.
Before this, Nardecchia never though drawing was in his future. “I never considered myself a drawer,” he says.
“I could do three-dimensional, but I just had this mental block.” With multiple passions throughout his life, including sculpting, writing children’s books and flying airplanes in the Air Force, it was inevitable that Nardecchia would pick up something new after he retired in 2005. After his life partner, Karen Holmen, suggested many times that Nardecchia pick up drawing, he finally took a class through the White Bear Center for the Arts. “It was really amazing,” Nardecchia says. “It was a life-changing experience for me.”
After Nardecchia picked up drawing, a friend approached him to do an art piece to raise money for H20 for Life. After a great response to the piece, he was convinced to make drawing a bigger part of his life. In August 2017, he began creating notecards depicting various landmarks in Dunedin, Fla., and sold them door-to- door as well as in a local shop. After these sold well, he decided to do some for the White Bear Lake area. He raised over $2,000 in the first four months through sales at Lila & Claudine’s. He’s created cards of Tally’s Dockside, 4 Seasons Restaurant, Ox and Crow Coffeehouse and more. He is open to making cards for local businesses and will do a drawing of your home upon request. “I don’t charge them anything,” Nardecchia says. “I make a graph card and I offer them the opportunity to put any words they want on the back of the card, explaining the architecture, for example, or describing their business.” Prints of other notecards Nardecchia has made are available for $4 per card and $20 for a set of five cards. Nardecchia offers a discounted online price, charging only $3 per card and $15 for a set.
The best part about Nino’s Note Cards is that proceeds go entirely to charity. “I’ve found something that I can do to give back,” Nardecchia says. “It’s working out for me and hopefully it helps others.” He’s raised over $1,500 as of December 2017 and donates to multiple organizations in the White Bear Lake area, including the Mahtomedi Area Food Shelter, St. Andrews Community Resource Center and Second Harvest.
Nardecchia wants to impart the message that people should make sure to do what they love and not hold themselves back. “When I go into schools, I tell the kids, "Never disqualify yourself from whatever you think is out of reach. Be a dancer, not a watcher, in life.”