Exhibition showcases member talent at Freeborn County Arts Initiative

Published 9:00 am Sunday, November 18, 2018

Carol Ganrude’s “Spring on the Horizon” is one of about 20 pieces in the show. Sarah Kocher/Albert Lea Tribune

As temperatures drop outside, the Freeborn County Arts Initiative is looking to take the chill off with its newest exhibit.

“Melting the Ice” is an approximately 20-piece member exhibit currently on display at the Arts Initiative gallery. It is its sixth and final show of the year.

“It’s a show around the holidays and people are in from out of town or people are traveling, so our winter programming we especially try to do things that make it fun for people to leave their houses in the cold and offer some opportunity for, you know, feelings of community and togetherness,” Freeborn County Arts Initiative President Elisha Andrew Marin said.

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Marin said a member showcase allows the Freeborn County Arts Initiative to showcase the diversity of talent in its membership. The exhibit contains paintings, drawings, jewelry and photography. Most have some influence from or inclusion of water, Marin said, but still differentiate from each other. Some are more literal — Shanda Brekke’s trio of graphite drawings in which a block of ice melts to release a person — while others, including Carol Ganrude’s bracelet done in frosty jewel tones, feel more subtly themed.

“Our artists took it in many — in multiple — different directions,” Marin said. “And that’s, that’s the beauty of having a themed show like this with a theme that could be taken very literally or very figuratively. You know, it leaves a lot of room to interpretation, and I think that’s pretty cool.”

Shanda Brekke’s Melting Cube series is displayed as part of Freeborn County Arts Initiative’s all-member show, “Melting the Ice.” – Sarah Kocher/Albert Lea Tribune

The theme itself has several facets. While last year’s show intended to capture the perennial and youthful spirit of artists involved in the Initiative, this year’s could reference the currently divisive political climate, Marin said, the United Nations’ recent report on climate change, or simply that “Minnesota nice” mentality, “melting down the ice between people.”

While the member exhibit typically has a closed reception, this year’s Small Business Saturday is an exception. A collaboration with Albert Lea Economic Development Agency means community members can pop in for a reception from 1 to 4 p.m. Nov. 24.

The gallery is also the pick-up point for those interested in passports used for ALEDA’s Shop Local campaign.

According to ALEDA interim Executive Director Noelle Hagen, the Shop Local passport tour idea came out of a conversation with Marin and local artist and Arts Initiative board member Susanne Crane as she geared up for Small Business Saturday. It morphed what would be signs in windows to a stop-in-and-see two-week small business event encouraging community members to check out local offerings.

Marin said the show is a good way for the arts nonprofit to give back by showcasing local artists.

“Our member shows are a cool thing,” Marin said. “They give an emerging artist the chance to show next to a nationally known or internationally famous artist, and, you know, that’s the beauty of our membership here … it’s so collaborative.”

Those who wish to purchase art or reproductions on Nov. 24 can receive 10 percent off at the Arts Initiative, Marin said. Six pieces along the same theme created by Kids College members will also be displayed in the hallway. There will be further artist booths and sales in the hallway.

The exhibition is open through Dec. 22.

About Sarah Kocher

Sarah covers education and arts and culture for the Tribune.

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