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Art around the globe

Woman’s art is inspired by the tastes and sights of Spain

Local watercolor artist and instructor Bonnie Broitzman will feature her paintings of hispanic influence in the newest exhibit at The Albert Lea Art Center.

“It wasn’t really typical at that point in time to think that your girl is going to go to college and nobody in my family had ever gone to college — well, I came home from eighth grade at Southwest, after the art teacher had said, ‘Little Bonnie Broitzman, you draw so well, you should be an art teacher.’” Broitzman said. “Well, I went home and nervously told my parents, ‘I think I want to be an art teacher’ — and they were absolutely delighted.

“And there was nothing else from that point on that I had nothing to worry about, because that is what I was going to be.”

Broitzman said she was extremely grateful for the encouragement she received from her parents Leaon and Helen Broitzman and her art teacher at an early age.

As stated in her biography, Broitzman spent her childhood riding her pony on her family’s farm north of Albert Lea. The majority of Broitzman’s primary education was in the Albert Lea school district, but she graduated from Northwood-Kensett. She went on to obtain an undergraduate degree in art from North Central College in Naperville, Illinois, and later received her master’s in education from Hamline University in St. Paul.

Broitzman was the first one in her family to go to college.

Local artist Bonnie Broitzman travels Europe heavily to find inspiration for her watercolor paintings.

Throughout her career, Broitzman traveled and moved a few times but eventually ended up back in the area. She took a position at an elementary school in Austin just a few blocks from her parents home and continued to teach at every level.

At 56, after taking early retirement from the Austin school district, Broitzman has returned to her hometown of Albert Lea. She owns a home with her studio on the south shore of Albert Lea Lake.

Since 2002, Broitzman and her teaching partner, Karlyn Holman, have taught over 30 on-location art adventures in Europe and Central America.

“Forty-two years ago, I fell in love with Spain and Europe,” Broitzman said.

In the spring of 2015, Broitzman took 15 students and observers to Costa del Sol in Spain. The new art exhibit at The Art Center is a display of the paintings that were created during that trip.

Broitzman enjoys the fluid nature of watercolor paint because she said it “is the perfect media for enjoying the spontaneity of the creative process.”

Broitzman practices and teaches “pleinaire” painting — which means she is painting on-location in a live setting.

She said her workshops help all levels of painters develop and fine-tune their skills by encouraging them to put their personal style on the paper or canvas.

“It has been such a wonderful career — I mean, I go all over the world,” Broitzman said. “I’ve traveled and seen all the major art museums in the world all because my parents said, ‘Yes, Bonnie — that is wonderful.’”

Broitzman has traveled to Greece, France, Italy and Spain with her paintbrushes and she said those countries hold a special place in her heart.

As part of The Art Center’s exhibit of hispanic-inspired paintings, it will host a “Fiesta del Arte” from 1 to 3 p.m. Aug. 6 outside the building on Clark Street.

The event will host artists and community members alike in an artist’s reception. Broitzman said the fiesta will be free to the public and will offer music, food, dance, music and art of hispanic influence.

Broitzman and her students’ art will be on display at the gallery until Sept. 23.

If you go

What: Exhibit of watercolor paintings created by Bonnie Broitzman and her students during an trip to Spain in 2015

When: “Fiesta del Arte” artist’s reception will be from 1 to 3 p.m. Aug. 6 and the gallery will run until Sept. 23. Gallery hours are 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.

Where: The Albert Lea Art Center, 226 W. Clark St.

Cost: Free

About Evelyn Seffinga

Evelyn Seffinga covers education and arts and culture for the Albert Lea Tribune.

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