Art scene heats up with the summer

Published 10:32 am Thursday, June 28, 2012

Column: Pat Garbisch, Eye on the Arts

The art scene heats up along with the steamy weather to bring you a variety of fun events for the whole family this July. Whether you prefer a quiet stroll through beautiful gardens or a nature-themed exhibit, a thought-provoking lecture or a genealogy search on family history, a satisfying meal with proceeds to a good cause, or the thrill of participating in or attending a stellar performance of local theater, we’ve got it all here in Albert Lea this month.

Pat Garbisch

The Art & Garden Tour 2012 will be from 4 to 7 p.m. July 20, and from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. July 21. Six gardens in Albert Lea have been chosen for the tour ranging from small secret gardens, to grand theme gardens, to natural prairie-style gardens. At each garden site an artist will be stationed exhibiting and demonstrating their particular artistic talent.

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Tickets for this popular fundraiser are $10 and may be purchased at the Albert Lea-Freeborn County Chamber of Commerce at Northbridge Mall, Ben’s Floral & Frame Designs, Addie’s Floral & Gifts and the Albert Lea Art Center. This event will be held rain or shine.

Also this month, the Albert Lea Art Center’s exhibit is titled, “Adventures in the Outdoors: Minnesota Style.” Viewers will be transported to the lakes and forests of this great state with two galleries featuring handmade fishing lures, paintings, photography, taxidermy and hand-carved bird sculptures. For anyone who loves the outdoor life, don’t miss this exhibit, which runs through July 28 during regular art center hours.

July’s Godtland Lecture Series on July 19 features Steve Tubbs speaking on “A Passion for Pottery.” Tubbs, a well-known local potter, will talk on the process and technique used in designing and creating his very popular style of pottery.

The lecture series is held the third Thursday of each month at 7 p.m. at the art center. Join us and be enlightened to the passions and pass times of the people in our community.

The Freeborn County Historical Museum, Library & Village will host a Swiss steak fundraiser on July 12 (Crazy Days) at the American Legion from 5 to 7 p.m. The cost for the meal is $8, with supplemental funding provided by Thrivent Financial for Lutherans, Albert Lea Chapter 31179.

On July 13 there will be a library lock-in from 5:30 to 11 p.m. at the Freeborn County Historical Museum library. The lock-in cost is $25 for members and $30 for non-members and requires pre-registration. This class allows attendees access to all of museum collections and resources to work on family research and offers an individual helper providing one-on-one assistance.

The museum and village will be open extended hours during the Freeborn County Fair, with hours until 8 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday, and noon to 6 p.m. on Sunday.

Albert Lea Community Theatre will stage its major musical production of the year, “Oliver!” opening July 12 and running July 12, 13, 14, 15 (matinee), 18, 19, 20 and 21 at the Marion Ross Performing Arts Center, 147 N. Broadway Ave. Curtain time is 7:30 p.m., with a 2 p.m. matinee.

“Oliver!” is the musical based on the Charles Dickens novel, “Oliver Twist,” set in old London at the time of workhouses, child labor, disease and poverty. An orphan, Oliver, escapes the workhouse to join Fagin and his gang of pickpockets and has some surprising adventures. The ACT production features 25 local children, as well as community actors.

Tickets may be purchased anytime online at the website or by calling the new ACT Call Center at 877-730-3144, or at the box office beginning July 9, from 3:30 to 6 p.m. The box office is at 147 N. Broadway Ave. and may be reached at 377-4371. Ticket prices for the musical are $18 for adults and $10 for students.

ACT will hold auditions for its first show of the fall season, “The Dixie Swim Club,” at 7 p.m. Aug. 27 and 28 at the Marion Ross Performing Arts Center.

There are roles for five middle-aged women. We see all five characters age from 45, 50, 55 and 77.

“The Dixie Swim Club” is a delightful comedy about five women who swam on their college swim team together and who have a getaway girls’ weekend once a year. Hilarious details of their private lives unfold as we learn how these best friends’ lives haven’t always turned out the way they had hoped. We get to enjoy all the angst and comic situations as secrets are revealed and past foibles re-emerge more exaggerated than ever! It is a laugh-out-loud, laugh-riot appropriate for all ages. Performance dates are Oct. 11, 12, 13, 17, 18, 19 and 20. This production will be directed by Glen Parsons.

In addition to the above events, don’t miss Wind Down Wednesdays Summer Market & Music Festival on July 18 and again Aug. 15. This is a new event offering a wide variety of incredible art, crafts, artisan food products and entertainment. Come out and enjoy the day in the historic downtown of Albert Lea right on beautiful Broadway Avenue from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. For more information check out the website at

As the summer heats up, chill out with some really cool, art-focused events happening this July in Albert Lea!


Pat Garbisch is the arts administrator for the Albert Lea Art Center.