‘A risk that paid off’: Arts Initiative celebrates 10 years

Published 9:00 pm Friday, February 3, 2023

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“The Ten-Year Retrospective,”a 10-year anniversary show at the Freeborn County Arts Initiative, is now open. The show will celebrate the artists, volunteers and staff who helped make the Arts Initiative strong.

“In the gallery, you will find nostalgic posters and other memorabilia going all the way back to 2012,” Elisha Marin, executive director of FCAI, wrote in an email.

For Marin, Darrylle Bruns and Susanne Crane, this was a big moment for an art gallery that Marin said was created to respond to “the exclusionary practices and lack of diversity of the other arts organization.”

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In fact, according to Marin, the gallery’s initial slogan was “Not Your Grandma’s Gallery,” and they did that because the Arts Initiative wanted to distinguish themselves.

“It was a risk that paid off,” he said. “We pride ourselves on bringing diverse artists and ideas to the community, and our pivot to hybrid programming during the pandemic.”

According to Bruns, president of the Arts Initiative, “The Ten-Year Retrospective” features too many artists to list and features people from the last 10 years who have shown, whether in a group, solo or duo, and includes Kids College Students who participated in programming. There will also be performing artists who previously played there.

According to Marin, the show serves as an opportunity for the community to look back on work artists have done to enhance the quality of life in the county.

“This show is an excellent opportunity for the community to reflect on all of the work that the creatives among us have done to enhance the quality of life in Freeborn County,” Marin said.

Crane, FCAI curator and a founding member of the organization, said she was happy with the way the organization developed and how thoughtful and diverse the programming was.

“When I’m docenting in the gallery and people come in, they’re often amazed at what we have to offer,” she said in an email. “Many people say, ‘Wow, this is very unexpected in a town this size!’”

Artwork will be for sale, and there is even a special pop-up component that will run until Feb. 25.

Marin was also particularly proud the Arts Initiative had lasted so long.

“Most organizations fail in the first three to five years,” he said.

“The Ten-Year Retrospective” will run through Feb. 25