Albert Lea Art Center celebrates 60 years

Published 9:00 am Saturday, February 23, 2019

It’s another milestone in the history of the Albert Lea Art Center.

For 60 years, the Albert Lea Art Center has been creating, educating, promoting and showcasing the arts in southern Minnesota and northern Iowa. To celebrate this anniversary, the Art Center is hosting a special anniversary reception and combining it with the opening of the Merna Sunde gallery show and sale. This event will be from 1 to 3 p.m. March 3 at the new Art Center location at 101 S. Broadway Ave. in Albert Lea.

The Art Center’s history began in 1959 when the students in a painting class taught by internationally known artist Lloyd Herfindahl decided to form an organization that would become the basis for a broader arts outreach in the community. In the intervening years, hundreds of events have taken place — classes for students and adults, gallery displays, community exhibitions, park programs, lectures, art and garden tours, fundraisers, and special arts activities at hotels, churches, malls and city parks. Throughout these years, the Art Center has had different locations – West Main Street, South Broadway Avenue, West Clark Street and now their new larger home, 101 S. Broadway Ave., the former Tiger City Sports building.

Email newsletter signup

To celebrate this event, the Art Center wishes to acknowledge Sunde, area artist and donor.

Sunde passed away in 2014, leaving a considerable portion of her estate to the Art Center. Her will stated, “This trust is created and shall be operated exclusively for the promotion of art and art works. The activities shall include in addition to promotion of art generally, the preservation, display and marketing of art works produced by Merna J. Sunde during her life.”

The Albert Lea Art Center was also honored to receive her extensive collection of original art and has set aside a number of pieces for its permanent collection. Almost two years ago, a sale was held that placed in many homes in the community some of her smaller paintings and sketches. Other items were saved for this special exhibition and sale.

On March 3, the public is invited to attend Albert Lea Art Center’s 60th anniversary celebration and Sunde. There is no admission charge. Come on in, celebrate Albert Lea Art Center history, sign up for door prizes, and enjoy connecting with the arts in our community.