New Art Center exhibit focuses on work of artists between 20 and 35

Published 9:00 pm Friday, February 11, 2022

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By Alex Guerrero

When COVID-19 arrived, a lot of businesses were forced to shutter their doors. One of them was the Albert Lea Art Center, which was in the midst of planning their first ever “Art of Today’s Generation” exhibit.

“We put a call for art out in March of 2020 because we were going to have the exhibit in June of 2020,” said Charlene Marley, arts administrator for the center. “COVID shut us down, so we could not have the exhibit.”

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But as vaccines became available and people started to adjust to a new normal, businesses re-opened and adapted to life with COVID.

So almost two years after the call for artists, the Art Center is having its first-ever “Art of Today’s Generation” exhibit, which will run from Tuesday to March 15.

“We are featuring artists in the Albert Lea and surrounding areas in the age range from 20 to 35,” she said. “We feel that this has been an untapped group that has not had a voice for their artistic expression in the community lately.”

The center decided to put the new exhibit together in response to their lack of work from artists in that age range, even though they’ve had exhibits from children as well as work from artists in their late 40s and older.

“We thought it would be great to showcase them and see what the actual younger people are doing in art,” she said.

Her biggest hope is for the community to see the creative spirit for that generation and hopes those artists can develop a connection to the community and potentially teach classes at the center or volunteer.

“[They’re] an untapped community that exists in Albert Lea, and we wanted to showcase that,” she said.

Eleven artists from Albert Lea, Kiester and Mason City will be featured. And it’s those artists who are slightly different than their older peers.

“This generation has mostly grown-up with social media, so that is how they get the word out about what they do,” she said. “They are artists from the minute social media hit because they take pictures, they share them. So they were thrilled to bring it to a place where people can actually come and see it instead of seeing it online.” 

Albert Lea Art Center, which will have a free opening reception and meet-and-greet with the artists from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Friday, is at 101 S. Broadway.  

Members of the center would like to thank the Freeborn County Community Foundation.

“They provided a grant for programming, and this is one of the exhibits that that programming grant money has brought to the community,” she said.