New dual art show opens at Art Center

Published 5:41 pm Tuesday, February 21, 2023

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Show to feature Blue Earth, Albert Lea artists

Beth Tostenson, artistic director of the Albert Lea Art Center, was a busy person Monday while helping set up a dual show with Teita Amberg and Lu Callstrom that opened Tuesday.

“Teita stopped into the Art Center about a year ago, and she said she had some artwork to show,” she said. “We saw her artwork and we invited her to show at this particular time.”

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Neo Watercolors is the name for Amberg’s part of the show.

Amberg, who is from Blue Earth, has done shows all over the state, including in Edina, Owatonna, Fairmont and now in Albert Lea.

“Why not, I have something to show,” she said.

And while Amberg doesn’t have one particular style, she said she has ideas and then acts on them.

The idea for her show started while she, like everyone else, stayed inside at the start of the pandemic.

“I was going nuts up there, and my boys said, ‘Get back at your artwork,’” she said.

And because her studio is her dining room table, she did just that.

“I’ve always done drawing, whatever,” she said. “Back in the day we didn’t have art material, so I drew on brown paper sacks and the back of some 8-inch-by-10-inch photos my mother caught me drawing on.”

Her love for the subject has led her to Ireland, Italy, the Czech Republic and Hungary, and she even had a stained-glass studio for 35 years.

“All art interests me,” she said. “I’m always amazed at the new things people come up with.”

Amberg graduated from Mankato State Teachers College with a degree in art, home economics and physical education.

“I started out teaching home economics right here,” she said. “My first year teaching [was] in 1959 at the old Central Junior High.”

Callstrom, an Albert Lea resident and board member, was not able to attend an interview.

“Lu first started painting in 1986,” Tostenson said. “She did an oil painting first. And then she got into tole painting, … it’s a decorative painting on wood pieces or on metal pieces.”

According to Tostenson, Callstrom then started working with watercolor.

Tostenson said Callstrom took watercolor from “several different artists” including Charlotte Laxen, Bonnie Broitzman and Barb Butler.

“Mainly she does watercolor, but she does some acrylic,” Tostenson said.

Callstrom has also traveled to France and Spain.

“She just loves to paint, and she likes to paint like every other day for sure,” she said, adding that Callstrom felt painting was a gift.

The show, which feature 22 pieces from Amberg and the same number from Callstrom, will run through April 8 and have watercolors, acrylics, oil and mixed media.

Priced pieces will be for sale, and anyone interested in purchasing can contact the Art Center at 507-373-5665.

“I think the two of them have unique artwork,” Tostenson said. “They’re similar but not similar.”

Amberg said she appreciated the opportunity to show at the Art Center.

To celebrate, the center will host an open house from 1 to 3 p.m. Sunday. The event is open to the public.

“It’s nice to have a new show and different mediums,” Tostenson said. “We’re looking forward to that.”