Art is: Ahead of move, questions abound

Published 11:00 am Saturday, September 15, 2018

Art is by Bev Jackson Cotter

Bev Jackson Cotter is a member of the Albert Lea Art Center, which will be opening its new location at 101 South Broadway on Friday, September 28.

Art is — what?

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Art is painting — a portrait, a landscape, an abstract done in oil, watercolor, ink, photography. What else? Art is music — a solo, a choir, an orchestra, a beginning piano student. What else? Art is sculpture — wood, clay, found items, maybe a reproduction of a tiger, a daisy, a child. Art is dance — ballet, tap, the polka. Art is theater — drama, humor, mystery, melodrama. Art is writing — a novel, a poem, an ad, even a column. Art is appreciation — of color, of light, of design. Art is learning to understand — the traditions of another culture, the modern versus the realistic, its vital place in history.

Art is all of these things, and more, much more.

Art is working towards a common goal, sharing the positives and negatives, and finding humor in the attempt.

This past couple of weeks have shown me just how broad the term “art” is.

The members of the Albert Lea Art Center are so excited about moving into the building at 101 S. Broadway Ave.. While our temporary home on Clark Street has served us well, the new space will provide  us with a central location, more gallery area, a larger classroom and meeting room, more storage, a bigger store, a more spacious and comfortable library, areas to honor our major donors — all of the things that we have noted on our wish list.

When I mentioned earlier working toward a common goal, I was thinking about the decision-making process required when an organization is governed by a board of directors made up of independent thinkers. That’s where the art of diplomacy comes in.

There are many questions. How do we change a sporting goods store into an art center? What color should the walls be? What do we need for display stands? How do we best use our wall space? What needs to be done before we can actually move in? What building changes are required by city codes? Do we need a new logo? Will the new setting attract more visitors and younger people? What should the bathrooms be like and the kitchen? Will the windows affect how we display art? What do we do to protect our gallery displays and prevent fading of watercolor paintings? How do we make our visitors comfortable in the new setting? What kind of panels will work best for display?

Who is going to actually do the moving, the hauling, the setting up? How do we fit the move  around the dates that the carpet cleaners are available? How do we pay for it all? Can everything be accomplished in time for our exciting, entertaining, public opening event on September 28?

Art is creative thinking and volunteers who are willing to give up mega hours, volunteers who would rather be painting at their easels than painting never-ending horizontal lines in the display walls, volunteers who are cheerfully greeting nearby store owners who stop in to check on our progress welcoming us to the neighborhood, and volunteers who share doughnuts and cookies and bottles of water and paint rollers and hammers and glue and carpentry skills and energy, energy, energy.

Thank you, thank you to the volunteers who are willing to give their time, their skills, their ideas, their common sense, their funding and their creativity, all for the purpose of expanding the arts in our community.

And thanks to you, our members and friends, for your support of the arts in our community and the respect you show for its place in our lives.

Art is all of these things and more, much more.