Peruse local talent at art showPhil Pfuehler photo The public library’s events coordinator Carole McClelland prepares for the month-long community art show that runs from now until Dec. 12 in the gallery of the library’s lower level. On the left is 81-year-old Jeremy Stowall, a retired local photographer who will exhibit work in the art show.
More than 70 artists took up Carol McClelland’s challenge, which proclaimed: “Show up. Show off. We dare you.”
“It was meant to be a light-hearted kind of dare,” laughed McClelland, the public library’s events coordinator who’s in charge of setting up the latest community art show: “From Around Here.”
Community art shows in River Falls date back to the late 1990s.
“The idea behind them is to stimulate creativity,” McClelland said. “While it’s true that not everyone is a vocational artist, there are plenty of people locally who have done some interesting things with their art. That kind of creativity is a community resource, and it’s one worth putting on display.”
McClelland said both artists and art show spectators have much to gain.
“Making art and being around art gets you thinking differently, more optimistically, and even makes you a better problem solver,” she said. “In modern life we are over-stimulated and reacting non-stop so that art forces us to slow down our way of thinking. It allows us to pause, to reflect and take in some original expressions and perspectives.
“Art has the same effect as exercising and keeps us mentally fit. Being around art, creating art gives you new insights, new ways of connecting to life.”
Philosophizing aside, McClelland adds, “A community art show like this is also just a lot of fun -- fun because you see the variety and range of local imaginations at work. It’s a wonderful experience.”
As for the show’s name, “From Around Here,” McClelland said: “It’s part of the vernacular. While some works on display have faraway themes, they were all born here and represent the creativity of local people.”
And McClelland said local creativity is on the rise. Participation in recent community art shows has jumped 30-40% over the past few years.
The youngest exhibitor this year is 10; the oldest are in their 80s.
McClelland said there’s more two-dimensional art (paintings and sketches), than there is of three-dimensional art (sculptures, glassware, pottery and fibers).
“But within each medium, like watercolors, there is a remarkable range of styles,” she said.
The all-community art show will be held downstairs in the gallery, with a few “teaser pieces” in the main lobby display cases. The show runs during normal library hours.
McClelland said it’s not too early for budding artists to plan for the future.
“Why not think ahead and get something going now for next year’s community art show?” she asked.
The following 73 people will exhibit their art at the “From Around Here” show. About a quarter are first-time exhibitors: William Ammerman; Anna Andahazy; Simon Anderson; Kiki Augustin; Barb Avise; Mary Bednarowski; Don Blegen; Cheryl Boetcher; Naomi Brandt; Lynne Butenhoff; Michelle Carlson; Bonnie Carroll; Philip Colpitts; Jimmie L. Coulther; Pauly Cudd; Margreth Downing; Sean K. Downing; Jeanne “Nana” Ertz; Sophia Ewens; Rick Fenstermaker; Bob Fritz; Kay Fritz; Patti Graf-Palmer; John Grancovitz; Scott Hayducsko; Harold Henson; Cathy Hunter; Kari Hussey; Audrey Iverson; Douglas L. Johnson; Robin Kelley; Jolene M. Koch; Mary Kolars; Monica Kolars; Sophia Kolars; DeAn Krey; Terryl Lillvis; Tom Loosmore; Peter Mak; Diana Mancino; Carl Marr; Rita Marrinan; patrice avon marvin; James McKahan; Tiffany Meyer; Melodie Needham; Deanna Nelson; Ed Paulson; Wayne B. Peterson; Doug Peterson; Linda Proch; Carol Pruchnofski; Mike Ray; Jessie Rayne; Emily Reusch; Dan Riordan; Judy Ritger; Jill Schneider; Steven Shimek; Joe Singewald; Kate Sisco; Lorie Spiegel; Suzanne Stout; Jeremy Stowall; Brian Vevang; Hanna Voss; Marsha Voss; Sarah Vruwink; Richard Ward; Paul White; Kay Wilson; Lauri Wilson; and Richard Wilson.