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The latest Albert Lea Art Center gallery focuses on area’s rural history

By Henry Rohlf

Albert Lea’s past will come to life this summer with a new gallery exhibit from The Albert Lea Art Center highlighting the area’s rural history.

In an attempt to maintain connections with the old, the Art Center will host its new exhibit, “Barns are Noble.”

The Barns are Noble gallery currently holds 49 works of art, highlighting barns and the ties the Albert Lea area has to them.

“We wanted to honor the beauty in the barns,” said Tom Mullen, the Art Center’s gallery committee chair.

The works of art present in the gallery are from just under 20 local artists, most of which grew up on a farm.

A unique painting of a barn on a piece of wood is one of many paintings displayed at the Albert Lea Art Center’s latest gallery, “Barns are Noble.” - Henry Rohlf/Albert Lea Tribune

A unique painting of a barn on a piece of wood is one of many paintings displayed at the Albert Lea Art Center’s latest gallery, “Barns are Noble.” – Henry Rohlf/Albert Lea Tribune

Inside the gallery are watercolor paintings, oil paintings, drawings and photographs of mostly local barns.

There are, however, many unique works of art in the gallery, including an aesthetic watercolor painting with a poem about the memory of the barn, written underneath it in a crisp fashion.

About half of the art displayed is for sale, as well, giving everyone a chance to bring a piece of Albert Lea’s history home with them.

Mullen said that the exhibit truly highlights the strong connection to farming Albert Lea has.

“The exhibit really highlights our agricultural past,”

This is something that is slowly disappearing, according to Mullen.

“If you drive down the highway, you notice that barns have changed,” he said. “We have such a strong history with farming, and barns are part of farming.”

The gallery is now open following its open house last Sunday. It will now follow the normal Art Center hours, which are from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m Tuesday through Saturday.

“This is an exhibit for everybody — a topic many people will enjoy,” Mullen said. “Feel free to come and look at the artwork. It will bring back memories.”