Recent Community Collaboration Enhances the Arts in Lanesboro, MN

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The arts are thriving in Lanesboro, MN. Award winning artisans Catherine Glynn, Bebe (Barbara Benson) Keith focus on community collaboration with their opening, "Small Things."

Lanesboro, Minnesota

It's tremendously gratifying to be in a place where so many creative and talented people are congregating. What's even better is that I consider these people my dear friends.

The Root River that flows through Lanesboro, Minnesota draws the most fascinating people to its waters. Lanesboro is a small, Arcadian arts town located in the Southeastern region of the state that has been drawing artisans far and wide to make their homes in the town for several years.

Actress and writer Catherine Glynn, and mosaic artist Bebe (Barbara Benson) Keith are two among many artisans who reside in the town and make their living doing what they love. In addition to thriving as artists in their own right, these women also actively seek community collaboration as a way to grow and promote the town to newcomers.

For the recent "Girl's Day Out" held in Lanesboro at the end of October, Glynn and Keith created a pop-up art opening above the newly established Community Grounds Grocery Store. Within the warmly lit, open, and inviting gallery, Glynn and Keith decorated the space with their collaborative effort entitled "Small Things."

"Small Things" was based on the haiku of Glynn and hand crafted paper mosaics created by Keith. In addition to the mosaics that hung on the wall, they sold books and greeting cards of the work. Keith also set up a station where she encouraged guests to construct their own paper mosaics.

Serving as an inspiration for "Small Things" was an earlier collaboration between Glynn and Liz Bucheit of Crown Trout Jewelers.

The two developed a photo series called "Ibsen Adorned." The project combined actors from the Commonweal Theatre, who annually take part in the Ibsen Festival (a celebration of Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen.) The actors are posed as Ibsen's most notable characters and are adorned in Bucheit's jewelry, which is based on traditional Scandinavian designs.

All three women are award winning artists and grant recipients from the Southeastern Minnesota State Arts Council. Glynn, who has been named as a 2016 recipient, will be performing a new solo performance piece entitled "Miss Myrna Davenport's Poetry in Motion" on January 30th, February 5th and 7th in 2016* at the Lanesboro Arts Center's St. Mane Theatre.

Although it is a solo performance, Glynn says, "'Miss Myrna is far from being a one woman show. It takes a village of artisans, (like Lee Gundersheimer from Great River Shakespeare Festival in Winona who will be directing her) to create a performance like this." She went on to say, "It's tremendously gratifying to be in a place where so many creative and talented people are congregating. What's even better is that I consider these people my dear friends."

The creative collaborations of these women are just a few of many in Lanesboro. Ultimately each one of them hopes to draw more artisans to the region. If for nothing else, to make more collaborative work together and enhance the already lovely and 'artrepreneurial' town they all call home.

*This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Southeastern Minnesota Arts Council thanks to legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.

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Greta Lehnan

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