Dora Thomas poses for a photo next to a painting she created. The painting, the sculpture next to it and a few other pieces are on display at the art center on loan from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. --Kelli Lageson/Albert Lea Tribune
Dora Thomas poses for a photo next to a painting she created. The painting, the sculpture next to it and a few other pieces are on display at the art center on loan from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. -- Kelli Lageson/Albert Lea Tribune

Archived Story

‘Art & Faith’

Published 11:03am Friday, September 13, 2013

Every church in Albert Lea has objects that could easily be considered works of art. That was the idea behind the latest exhibit at the Albert Lea Art Center.

There are traditional pieces like paintings, photos and drawings, but then there are so many more objects that churches use in rituals that can be considered art. There are altar cloths, chalices, banners, quilts, wood carvings, crosses and offering plates, among others.

“There’s a wide variety of handmade things,” said Tom Mullen, Art Center member. “Each church is different in terms of the types of things they use for rituals.”

This piece is on loan from Crossroads Church. The work was done by Sue and Jerry Westrum.
This piece is on loan from Crossroads Church. The work was done by Sue and Jerry Westrum.

Mullen called area churches to see if they would be interested in contributing anything to the exhibit. He was surprised by the large variety of items that came in. There are Bibles, elaborate candlesticks, detailed paintings, handmade stoles and banners that reflect different religious holidays and even a metal sculpture.

“It makes it more interesting to see their similarities and differences,” Mullen said.

The art center tried to include as many churches and faiths as possible in its latest exhibit. This table combines pieces from Grace Lutheran Church, St. Theodore Catholic Church, First Lutheran Church, Our Savior’s Lutheran Church and Trinity Lutheran Church.
The art center tried to include as many churches and faiths as possible in its latest exhibit. This table combines pieces from Grace Lutheran Church, St. Theodore Catholic Church, First Lutheran Church, Our Savior’s Lutheran Church and Trinity Lutheran Church.

There were at least nine Lutheran churches represented in the show, but Mullen said he wanted to try to include everyone. There is a small exhibit from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and other pieces were provided by area Methodist, Presbyterian and Catholic churches, as well as other denominations.

Art Center member Tom Mullen poses next to some installments at the latest art center exhibit: “Art & Faith.” Mullen helped find the photos, paintings, banners and other pieces from area churches.
Art Center member Tom Mullen poses next to some installments at the latest art center exhibit: “Art & Faith.” Mullen helped find the photos, paintings, banners and other pieces from area churches.

Individuals were able to contribute anything faith-related, so there are pieces that include a menorah and dreidel from a Jewish woman. The Freeborn County Historical Museum got involved, too, and contributed photos of old churches and church celebrations from many years ago.

Mullen worked on a feature for the exhibit. He went around to a few area churches and took photos of stained glass windows. Visitors to the exhibit can try their hand at a quiz to see if they can differentiate between the stained glass photos.

There are other interesting pieces, including something on loan from New Life Christian Church. The church helps a tribe in Papua New Guinea, and the tribe wished to thank the church. It has no written language, so tribe members made a wood carving and sent it to the church in Albert Lea.

“I’m happy we have so many of the churches involved,” Mullen said. “It’s a good variety of art forms.”

There is one multimedia feature, as well. Exhibit viewers can listen to an audio recording on the history of religion development in Freeborn County by the late Bidney Bergie.

An open house for the exhibit was held on Sunday. Mullen said the Art Center may host another open house for the exhibit after the Broadway street construction is finished.

The exhibit is called “Art & Faith.” The Albert Lea Art Center is open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays. The exhibit runs until Oct. 11. It is free and open to the public.

 

Exhibit participants

The Albert Lea Art Center was loaned pieces from area churches and private citizens. The participants are as follows:

• Conservative Congregational Church of Hollandale

• Hollandale Christian Reformed Church

• Concordia Bear Lake Lutheran Church

• Conger Lutheran Church

• St. Theodore Catholic Church

• Our Father’s House

• New Life Christian Church

• The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

• Christ Episcopal Church

• Crossroads Evangelical Church

• Ascension Lutheran Church

• First Lutheran Church

• Grace Lutheran Church

• Salem Lutheran Church

• Trinity Lutheran Church

• Our Savior’s Lutheran Church

• Zion Lutheran Church

• United Methodist Church

• First Presbyterian Church

• Salvation Army Church

• Harlan Bang

• Kirsten Staloch

• Judy Gordon

• Barb Butler

• Karen Meyerson

• Carole Bower

• Eloise Adams

• Beth Tostenson

• Sara Aeikens

 

If you go

What: Art & Faith exhibit at the Albert Lea Art Center

When: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays until Oct. 11

Where: 224 S. Broadway. The Art Center has entrances on Broadway and at the back alley; there is no parking on Broadway right now due to construction.

How much: Free