Arts Initiative reception to coincide with Small Business Saturday

Published 9:00 am Sunday, November 24, 2019

The Freeborn County Arts Initiative is putting heartfelt holiday coziness on display for its final show of the year.

“Home for The Holidays” opened earlier this month, and will be on display through Dec. 21 at the Arts Initiative. There will be an artist reception from 1 to 4 p.m. Nov. 30 to coincide with Small Business Saturday.

“The Bessesen building, where FCAI resides, is a prime spot for Albert Lea’s Small Business Saturday passport program. In 2018, we got over 500 visitors as people came to collect their passport stamps from the building’s multiple businesses,” said Arts Initiative President Marla Klein. “So this year, we thought it’d be perfect to have this show’s artist reception correspond with Small Business Saturday, so shoppers can meet the artists in person. We also offer a 10% discount on the artwork that day as a little extra incentive to support local artists.”

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While the show has been on display for a few weeks already, it will transform more as November comes to a close — including the addition of a fireplace setup, a comfy couch and a decorated Christmas tree, said Arts Initiative member and Bessesen building owner Susanne Crane. Christmas music will also play in the gallery space.

“Every year, during the holiday season, we like to shine a light on our artist members to show our love and appreciation for their talents and best efforts,” Crane said. “Every year is different. This show is warm and inviting for even the most novice art appreciator to enjoy.”

“Mom” and “Father” by Jazmin Negrete are two pieces that will be on display as part of the exhibition. Colleen Harrison/Albert Lea Tribune

The “Home for the Holidays” theme in the all-member exhibit is meant to show something “everyone can relate to: being together with those you love during this chilly time of year,” Klein said.

There are almost 30 pieces in the show, according to Klein, all of which were done by 13 different artists from Minnesota — five from the Twin Cities and the rest from the Freeborn County and Faribault areas. The mediums displayed in the show vary — from photography and acrylic and watercolor paintings, to mixed media, beaded jewelry, embroidery and sumi-e brushwork.

“I really love all of the directions people took the theme, but when I walk into the gallery, everything feels really warm and cozy,” Klein said. “The show definitely radiates that Minnesotan mindset of getting through the winter together.”

“Home for the Holidays” will close out the Arts Initiative’s 2019 shows. The next show’s opening will be slightly delayed due to the organization receiving the gift of a new floor from one of its board members who wishes to remain anonymous.

“A board member generously gave us a Christmas present this year,” Crane said.

The new floor will go in the gallery space in January, and a new hanging system for gallery pieces will go into effect as well.

“I’d like to give a huge shoutout and thank you to our founding members and their work,” Klein said. “We wouldn’t be here without their support and gorgeous artwork.”

If you go

Who: Freeborn County Arts Initiative

What: “Home for the Holidays”
all-member art exhibition and sale

When: artist reception is 1 to 4 p.m. Nov. 30; show runs through Dec. 21

Where: 224 S. Broadway Ave. in downtown Albert Lea

How much: no admission fee


About Colleen Harrison

Colleen Harrison is the photo editor at the Albert Lea Tribune. She does photography and writes general-assignment stories.

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