Albert Lea displays its art: Heart of the City Holiday Stroll features 35 local artists

Published 12:00 am Thursday, November 22, 2007

By Sarah Light, staff writer

Downtown Albert Lea is ready to kick off the holiday season with this year&8217;s version of Heart of the City Holiday Stroll.

Whether it&8217;s the downtown window decorating contest, the Festival of Trees, the lighting of Albert Lea&8217;s official Christmas tree or some holiday shopping, people in town this Thanksgiving weekend can take part in at least one aspect of the festivities.

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A highlight of the festivities this year is the Holiday Art Stroll, which features the artwork of 35 local artists, including artists such as Harlan Bang, Troy Doyle, Rory Mattson, Beth Tostenson and Dee and Tom Teller.

Susanne Crane, organizer of the Art Stroll and owner of the Albert Lea Art Center building, said the event should be one that is sure to entertain. It is the first time artists have been able to participate in something of this magnitude locally.

&8220;It&8217;s being done on a grand scale with multiple collaboration between many organizations, private businesses and the city of Albert Lea,&8221; Crane said. &8220;I think people will be pleasantly surprised.&8221;

During the event, people are invited to view the art &8212; which will be on display in the Freeborn National Bank and Jacobson buildings, the Albert Lea Civic Theatre, the Bible Bookstore building, the Farm Bureau building, and the Albert Lea Art Center &8212; starting on Friday from 3 to 7 p.m. and going throughout the weekend during various hours.

Art on display includes a variety of mediums such as paintings, jewelry, pottery, sculpture and wood bowls, incorporating a variety of styles to please every taste.

&8220;There will be great, one-of-a-kind gifts,&8221; Crane said.

Crane, an artist herself, said she decided to organize the art stroll because she is interested in meeting other artists and collaborating with all of the different creative talent in town. The event quickly escalated once the word got out, she said.

&8220;Once the ball got rolling, it picked up momentum and took on a life of its own,&8221; she said.

Destination Albert Lea President Tami Staker said it was great to work on a collaborative effort between the Albert Lea Arts Council Steering Committee, the Art Center, the Freeborn County Convention and Visitors Bureau, the city of Albert Lea, and Destination Albert Lea to put on the stroll.

&8220;Come on down,&8221; Staker said. &8220;It&8217;s bigger and it&8217;s better than it&8217;s ever been before.&8221;

Rick Mammel, one artist participating in the event, said he decided to join the art stroll after he was encouraged to do so by some other area residents.

&8220;It&8217;s an opportunity for me to get familiar with more local and regional artists,&8221; Mammel said. His art includes ceramic sculpture and drawings.

The full list of participating artists includes Sarah Aeikens, Bang, Gail Batt, Lu Callstrom, Brie Cohen, Susanne Crane, Tia Crane, Doyle, Bob Ellison, Kathy Farris, Emily Faugstad, Rachelle Fliehman, Barbara Hamberg, Joyce Hibbard, Jack Hockenberry, Esther Kanzenbach, Max Konrardy, Mammel, Theresa Matheson, Mattson, Bob Muschler, Ann Oliphant, Debb Peterson, David Prochniak, Sue Rechtzigel, Jan Schewe, Peg Shelton, Marty Shepard, the Tellers, Patty Tewes, Tostenson, Deb Schnell, Michael Waddick, Pat Waddick and Paul Williams.