Local artists draw inspiration from historic Faribault in new galleries

Paradise, like other arts and entertainment venues, is struggling financially during the pandemic and has established a donor program called the 100 Club to alleviate some of its mortgage debt.

Local artists draw inspiration from historic Faribault in new galleries

FARIBAULT, Minn. (KEYC) - Now through April 3, Paradise Center for the Arts Center is showcasing several new, community-inspired galleries.

“It’s looking back at memories of Faribault,” said Joe Kral, Faribault native and artist of ‘My Hometown.’ “Things that made Faribault what it is.”

Kral has more than 100 pieces of art paying homage to his hometown, now on display in one of four new galleries featured at the Paradise Center for the Arts.

While he produces pieces meant for the everyday-art enthusiast, there are a few that may specifically appeal to Faribault residents.

”[There are] these clowns that were in the tilt-a-whirl that I remember as a kid. And they’re kind of creepy, weird clowns,” said Kral. “I made a few pieces using them and a lot of people that saw them said ‘I don’t know if anybody is going to buy those.’ I think somebody in Faribault is going to remember that and we’ll see if they’ll buy it to put it up on their living room wall or down in their man cave.”

Faribault’s art community has an eye for what makes this town special to its artists. Among them is lifelong resident Linda Van Lear, who like many locally-featured artists, captures the history of the community in portraits of landmarks such as the Faribo Seed and Nursery building.

Van Lear passed away in January but her memory lives on through her artwork, also featured in the latest round of galleries.

“Each of us made a piece or picked a piece that made us think of Linda,” said Julie Fakler, Paradise Center for the Arts’ Visual Arts and Education Director.

The 100 Club is something very special to us at the Paradise Center for the Arts. So many generous people have donated...

Posted by Paradise Center for the Arts on Wednesday, February 17, 2021

As admirers gather to see the historic aspects of Faribault on canvas, curious eyes will see another gallery dedicated to the works created by the students at Bethlehem Academy, led by art instructor Jason Hillesheim and colleague Cassie Story.

“Either they’ll realize it now, or they’ll graduate and look back five years from now and say ‘wow, that was really powerful, showing our artwork at a public gallery, where everybody can go and see it.” said Hillesheim.

No matter the spectrum of work, Hillesheim believes every piece in the gallery has a common message to convey.

”We can’t be always, ‘what do I get? How can I get it?’ But you know what, what do you have to give?” said HIllesheim. “If it’s a beautiful drawing or a painting or a poem and you can give it back and share it with someone in the community? That’s the best lesson you can teach.”

Paradise Center for the Arts is also showcasing art instruction by local artists as part of the new galleries opening Friday.

Paradise, like other arts and entertainment venues, is struggling financially during the pandemic and has established a donor program called the 100 Club to alleviate some of its mortgage debt.

It’s specifically set up to alleviate the arts center’s mortgage debt. The campaign has raised more than $100,000 to bring the art center’s current balance to $141,000 of debt remaining.

An opening reception will be held on Friday from 5-7 p.m. and will feature a Facebook live event for those with COVID-19 concerns.

A Virtual Artist talk is also scheduled for Thursday March 18, 2021.

For more information on the latest galleries and how to support, contact the Paradise Arts Center at (507) 332-7372.

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