Kirk Foley, owner of Prairie Wind Coffee, and Marty Shepard, artistic director of the Albert Lea Art Center, are planning the first Sweet Soiree at the coffee shop as a fundraiser for the Art Center from 5 to 7 p.m. on Thursday. --Jason Schoonover/Albert Lea Tribune
Kirk Foley, owner of Prairie Wind Coffee, and Marty Shepard, artistic director of the Albert Lea Art Center, are planning the first Sweet Soiree at the coffee shop as a fundraiser for the Art Center from 5 to 7 p.m. on Thursday. -- Jason Schoonover/Albert Lea Tribune

Archived Story

Plenty on their palettes

Published 6:57am Sunday, March 17, 2013

The Albert Lea Art Center is about to welcome spring with art, coffee, music and more.

The Art Center will host the first Sweet Soiree fundraiser at Prairie Wind Coffee from 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday.

Along with serving as a fundraiser, the event will also launch the new season at the Art Center.

“It’s just kind of a kickoff to our spring season,” said Marty Shepard, artistic director at the Art Center.

Art, jewelry, art supplies and more from the Art Center will be displayed and for sale. Admission is $10 at the door. Along with the art, there will be plenty for people’s taste palates, including a coffee tasting by Prairie Wind and cupcakes by Sugar Chic, not to mention Prairie Wind’s typical menu.

“It’s just kind of a new idea,” Shepard said. “We try to do little fundraisers here and there throughout the year.”

The event is also a way to showcase downtown, and Shepard said the Art Center could play a bigger role in highlighting downtown in the future.

“We want people to come in and experience what downtown life in Albert Lea can be like,” she said. “The coffee shop has added to that.”

Fundraisers like the Sweet Soiree are important for the Art Center and help cover programming and other expenses.

“We are really dependent on these small fundraisers, dependent on our membership drive, dependent on small grants — that’s how we get the money that we use to survive,” Shepard said.

Prairie Wind owner Kirk Foley said he was happy to partner with the Art Center for the event. The Sweet Soiree will be held in conjunction with Prairie Wind’s weekly open mic nights — typically from 6 to 8 p.m. in the winter and 7 to 9 p.m. in the summer on Thursdays.

“It’s an active night for us anyway,” he said.

Shepard said the Art Center could delve deeper into the arts in the future, like writing, dance and music. The Sweet Soiree partnership with Prairie Coffee will be a start.

Shepard said having the coffee shop across the street from the Art Center opened up possibilities.

“This is a new kind of experience for us,” she said.

 

Coming up at the Art Center

The Sweet Soiree will serve as a kickoff for many upcoming events at the Art Center.

“We have kind of a busy year planned,” Artistic Director Marty Shepard said.

Here a few of the events coming up this spring and summer:

• The Elementary/Secondary Student Art Show starts today with a 1 to 3 p.m. open house. The gallery runs through April 6. Hours are 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and again from 1 to 3 p.m. March 24.

• The Art Center’s Godtland Lectures return April 18, with a lecture on Indian artifacts. The lectures are held on the third Thursday of each month at 7 p.m. and run April through December. An upcoming lecture will feature a published writer.

• In April, the Family Heirlooms & Collectibles gallery will be held. The exhibit will likely include things like collectible salt and pepper shakers and other collectible heirlooms. Dates still to be determined.

• The Art Center is planning the Unique Junk Sale, likely in June, which will serve as a fundraiser and have multiple items for sale.

• The Art & Garden Tour will again be held this summer, showcasing area community homes.

• Sometime this summer, a gallery at the Art Center will highlight art on Albert Lea’s lakes. Exact dates are yet to be set.

• Late this summer, an exhibit will feature the art collection of a Marjorie Keppel. Exact dates are yet to be finalized.