New exhibit’s goal is to help people escape

Published 8:33 pm Friday, July 24, 2020

The Freeborn County Arts Initiative has opened its first exhibition since the COVID-19 pandemic broke out.

Entitled “In the Garden,” the show is meant to be “a lighthearted escape from worries and cares,” according to a press release.

“It’s other people’s ideas of what it’s like to be in paradise or in the garden,” said Bessesen building owner and gallery chairwoman Susie Crane.

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Comprised of work from about 10 or 11 different artists, mediums on display include ink, watercolor and other forms of paint, photography, poster art, sculpting and mosaic work. Different floral and plant arrangements will be incorporated into the show, as well as a tower garden filled with different types of vegetables and other plants.

According to Crane, a number of artists new to the Arts Initiative will be part of the show. Christine Hiegel will display some of her photography, and Arts Initiative board member Jonah Fisher will display a piece for the first time. Fisher created a piece by placing a marble over paper in a tray with ink and driving down a gravel road in the country, letting the journey create the imagery, according to Crane. Linda Esse has a number of different mosaic works in the show — including a fish and one that Crane said reminds her of a lighthouse.

Mosaic works by Linda Esse featured in the exhibition will be new for the Freeborn County Arts Initiative. – Colleen Harrison/Albert Lea Tribune

“I’m really excited about the glass artist,” Crane said of Esse.

Arts Initiative President Elisha Marin has a poster in the show incorporating a poem Crane wrote, and Dee Teller will have original sumi-e works, as well as prints of her work in the show.

“I’m very happy with the variety we have in this one,” Crane said.

She said while past Arts Initiative shows have featured artists from across the United States, “In the Garden” is more local. Aside from one artist out of Minneapolis, everyone else featured in the exhibit is based out of Freeborn County and its surrounding areas.

While many of the Arts Initiative’s shows have worked to start conversations or debates about important issues, Crane said this show’s goal is to help people escape.

“Right now people are overwhelmed,” she said. “This one is about solace and relaxation … it’s kind of about escapism.”

Due to the pandemic, the Arts Initiative is tentatively setting its regular hours from 1 to 4 p.m. Saturdays, as more cleaning will be in place in-between visits. Masks are required and there will be a five-person maximum limit for being in the gallery at one time. Appointments to view the gallery, at 224 S. Broadway Ave. in downtown Albert Lea, can also be made by contacting the Arts Initiative through its website at


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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