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Annual senior art show kicks off with “Fluid Studio”

The culmination of four years of dedication to art will be on display at Winona State University during the last two weeks of the 2019 spring semester.

The annual Senior Art Show will feature work by students graduating on May 10 or who will be graduating in the fall, all majoring in art, art education and design.

Roger Boulay, the Gallery and Art Collection Coordinator said the addition of the design students is new to the show this year which brings a new element to the exhibition.

“They’re presenting a range of work; some have altered photographs, some students have designed their own patterns that will be printed,” Boulay said. “One design student is making clothing, he’s really interested in fashion so he’s making his own jacket that will be laser engraved with text on it.”

The show opens on April 29 and features six students with a show called “Fluid Studio,” that will deal in color and the challenge of a group show.

Student observes art
Sophomore Zayle Swope observes Olivia VanDenBerge’s instillation piece “Garden of My Heart” in Watkins Gallery on Tuesday, April 30.

“It’s a little bit tricky in a group show when you have six different artists with six very different points of view to find one theme that really encapsulates everyone,” Boulay said. “So Fluid Studio is meant to speak to that conundrum of a group show.”

The second week will focus on the remaining six students starting May 6, the theme for that show is “Roots,” which explores where people are from, ideas of home and self-portraiture.

Kieran McDonnell, a senior majoring in studio arts is in the “Fluid Studio” exhibit.

McDonnell expressed his excitement on showing his work in a gallery that has featured many nationally and internationally known professional artists.

“To be in the same space as them is really an honor, but this show is really a wonderful opportunity for us,” McDonnell said. “Our show is based around our perception of how we’ve grown as artists…everyone in here has worked hard and we are all looking forward to seeing this show come to completion.”

“Fluid Studio” was originally going to feature the students’ first self-portrait alongside a current one, but for spacing reasons that element was cut from the first show.

This element will be featured in “Roots,” allowing gallery viewers to see the progress of each student and compare the two works.

In Boulay’s class, students create a professional portfolio and learn how to install , so they will be installing the exhibit in the Watkins Gallery.

Students hang art work
Jesse Peterson (right) hangs “Self Care Girlie” with the help of her classmate, Kieran McDonnell, in Watkins Gallery on Friday, April 26 as part of her exhibition in the annual Senior Art Show. Peterson and McDonnell are participating in the first week of the show titled “Fluid Studio” which runs April 29 through May 1.

“It’s entirely up to the students to design and install their own exhibition,” Boulay said. “I’ve taught them how to install their work and now it’s up to them to get everything organized and decide how everything is going to look. It’s also really exciting for students who are graduating to have an exhibition in the gallery during commencement, so they can bring their families through and look at their work.”

The Watkins Gallery is open Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. with extended hours on Wednesdays.

For additional information about Watkins Gallery and the exhibit follow these links:

A Hike Up John A. Latsch State Park

Written and photographed by Nicole Girgen

The sky was overcast on Sunday afternoon, and a light fog started to wrap around the bluffs as I drove towards my destination for the second time this weekend.

John A. Latsch State Park sits along highway 61 on the Mississippi River, roughly 20 minutes north of Winona, Minnesota.

The site was founded in 1925 when Winona businessman, and a supporter of conservation work John A. Latsch donated 350 acres to the state of Minnesota for park use. Latsch also donated land in Whitewater State Park and Perrot Sate Park in Wisconsin.

Mounts Faith, Hope and Charity are the three bluffs included in the park, named by steamboat captains in the 1850s who used these peaks as landmarks while traversing the Mississippi.

The development of the park was slow, due to the landscape the only level ground was in small ravines which separate the three bluffs. In 1933 the Mount Charity Riverview Trail was created by the Civilian Conservation Corps and remains the only developed trail in the park to this day.

An analysis of the park in 1971 recommended the area be reclassified as a scientific and natural area, no action has been taken to reclassify the area and it remains a state park.

A parking area nestled in a small clearing opens to a small picnic area at the bottom of the bluff and a short walk leads to the trailhead.

Wood steps embedded into the hill sets the path winding through the forest and up the bluff, the half-mile trail is rated difficult by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and not even a third of the way up it was clear why.

The entire trail rests at varying stages of an incline that gradually gets steeper the higher you go, and I was already slightly out of breath.

About half way into the hike there was a break in the steady stream of cars along the highway and the entire atmosphere of the park changed, a stillness echoed over the bluff, not a single leaf rustled in the wind and no bird calls descended from the trees.

A view of the peak from a small out crop.
A view of the peak from a small out crop.

The crunch of my boots against the snow-covered steps and the dull roar of the highway was a constant reminder of human presence in those woods, but in that moment of peaceful stillness I felt truly alone.

It was over in an instant.

The low rumble of a car just rounding the corner of the next bluff broke the stillness and, shaken from my moment, I continued to climb.

When I reached the peak, a light mist began to set in, an early sign of the coming fog I could see over the panoramic view of the ice-covered Mississippi, and as much as my legs burned from the hike up it was nothing compared to how I’d feel after the trip down.

Photo from top of the trail
A panoramic view from the peak of Mount Charity.

Though the park is open all year the stairs were not cleared of snow on my trip. This was my first time on this trail in the winter and I am unsure if the trail condition is normally this way or if the recent cold snap prevent usual trail maintenance

Because of the warmer weather, melting snow and extra condensation in the air the stairs became slick and the snow covering compacted into a slippery surface.

The slipery path
The trek down should be done with caution in the winter as the melting snow creates a slick surface, making it easier to slip.

Each step was taken slowly and one at a time, foot placement was key, and I still slipped several times with one resulting in a fall. The long stretches of stairs with no railings or support also made the trip down much more difficult.

I would recommend this trail in any season, but extra precaution should be taken in the winter to avoid dangerous situations.

Winona’s 10 Annual Family Art Day

Parents and children gather excitedly Saturday morning Sept. 2, 2017 at Jaycee’s Pavilion in Winona’s Lake Park for the tenth annual Family Art Day.

Sponsored by a grant from the Southeastern Minnesota Arts Council this event helps introduce children to a variety of art mediums that may not be available to them otherwise.

Winona’s River Arts Alliance board runs the event with help from Winona Parks and Recreation and the Winona State University Art Department.

Aundra Arre paints on mural boards set up in Jaycee’s Pavilion for Winona’s tenth annual Family Art Day last Saturday.

With two years on the board under her belt, event coordinator Tove Wiggs said she was eager to help organize Family Art Day.

Wiggs said “Many people who volunteer are from the arts community, art supporters, a handful of WSU students and members of the River Arts Alliance board.”

“The River Arts Alliance has all sorts of different artists as members and friends of the organization,” Wiggs said.  “I just really wanted to expand into some of the forms of art that are beyond 2D and 3D; into music, movements and poetry.”

With 23 art activities, around 30 artists, live music and food from Rubio’s, the event was busy from the start, with numbers close to the 550 people who participated in 2016 according to Wiggs.

The art stations included familiar arts like water color, pottery, finger painting and beading while adding more unique art mediums like movement arts, weaving, poetry, cosmic knots and wood carving with wire.

Potter Mickey Maslowski explains how to make designs on a pot while Kara Reller and her one-year-old son, Stevie, observe.

“I had a number of people that I ran into this week that told me they were really excited,” Wiggs said. “Their kids have been looking forward to this and asking about it.”

The Minnesota Marine Art Museum has participated in this event for 10 years.

This year, the museum introduced a type of art that included a small history lesson called cyanotype.

Cyanotype is photographic printing process that uses the sun to expose a special cyan paper to produce images of objects laid on top of the paper, some artists would use this medium to document plants along the Mississippi River.

“This isn’t just for kids, parents are doing activities too,” Wiggs said. “While this is primarily for children adults have just as much fun being here and trying things out too.”

Volunteer potter Amanda Griggs shows Odin Prigge-Mavl, 5, how to raise a pot at Family Art Day on Saturday outside Jaycee’s Pavilion.

During Family Art Day families can sit down with individuals who make their living as artists and learn from them.

Artists come from surrounding communities and sometimes from outside the state.

Like Sarah Johnson from La Crosse, Wisconsin is trained as a mental therapist and practices multi-media art as her hobby. She said she often uses art to aid in therapy.

“This is the first year I have been involved in this and I think it’s awesome,” Johnson said. “I’m loving watching the families creating art together, it’s really cool and makes me really proud of Winona.”

After hearing about the event from a friend, Johnson said she decided to become one of the artist volunteers.

“It’s right up my alley, I love are and love young people and seeing their creativity, anything that builds community I support.” Johnson said.