Laissez les bon temps rouler
Donated mannequins turned into works of art for Mardi Gras
The Albert Lea Art Center and the Freeborn County Historical Museum are preparing to let the good times roll just in time for Mardi Gras.
Art Center Arts Administrator Charlene Marley said Stephanie Kibler, the executive director of the museum, found quite a few mannequins while going through museum storage. Kibler thought it could be fun to turn the mannequins into works of art, and donated them to the Art Center. Thus, a collaborative show was born.
The Art Center and the museum will team up to offer a Mardi Gras celebration from 5:30 to 8 p.m. Feb. 21 at the Art Center, 101 S. Broadway in downtown Albert Lea. Tickets to the event are $25 per person, and the proceeds will go back into both the Art Center and the museum. Tickets can be purchased at the museum, 1031 Bridge Ave. in Albert Lea, which is open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday through Friday; at the Art Center, which is open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday; or at the door the night of the event.
Twenty-one different artists have taken different sections of the mannequins to make into different expressive pieces, coming up with over 35 different pieces to display.
“We just said this is a different canvas for you to use to express yourselves,” Marley said when the idea was presented to Art Center members.
One mannequin arm was made to show an arm raising up a fist, covered with pictures of different female icons throughout history. The base the arm rests on uses Scrabble tiles to spell out “I am woman.”
One mannequin bust is layered with different colors and textures. Art Center Artistic Director Beth Tostenson said the artist used onion peels and other materials to create the different textured elements.
As part of the Mardi Gras celebration, which will fall the Friday before Fat Tuesday, the mannequins will be for sale through a silent auction. Both Marley and Tostenson said they thought the different pieces could be interesting displays for homes or businesses, or could inspire people to commission their own unique pieces. They said the show itself will be something new and unique for the community to see as well.
Chef John Lowery of Conger Inn Victory Catering will handle food for the event, with Cajun food on the menu. The 112 on Broadway will offer beer and wine at the event as well, and Dixieland music will be played. Mardi Gras beads will be given to attendees as they arrive, and they are encouraged to dress in Mardi Gras-inspired attire — including masks.
“We want to beat the blahs of winter,” Marley said.
What: The Albert Lea Art Center and Freeborn County Historical Museum’s Mardi Gras celebration
When: 5:30 to 8 p.m. Feb. 21
Where: The Albert Lea Art Center, 101 S. Broadway in downtown Albert Lea
How much: $25 per person; tickets can be purchased at the Art Center and the museum, as well as at the door the night of the event