The Free Press, Mankato, MN

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December 5, 2013

Carnegie members' exhibit kicks off handicap-accessibility project

Carnegie members' exhibit kicks off handicap-accessibility project

When Roger DaWald attended then-St. Cloud College decades ago, he didn't think much of his art classes.

"I was mad at the time because they made me take music and art," he said. "And I just wanted to learn to make a living."

During a long career as an insurance agent and, later, the owner of his own agency, DaWald had little time for art. Even after retiring and moving to Mankato six years ago, DaWald never even considered the pursuit.

Even in the pre-dawn stillness of Dec. 2, 2012 — the very morning on which DaWald snapped the photo that will be on display as part of the members' exhibition at the Carnegie Art Center that opens today with reception 7-9 p.m. on Saturday — he had no intention of creating a piece of artwork.

Still, after setting his eggs in the handles of a pair of scissors (to keep them from rolling off the counter, of course), DaWald was amused by the suggestion of eyes, face and legs. He drew a small, blue bead on each egg and took a picture.

"It was just something I did to entertain myself before my wife woke up and the paper arrived," he said. "I'm certainly not a planned artist. I wasn't looking for a photo."

Yet, his work seems at home in the motley and miscellany of the Carnegie members' exhibit, which includes more than 80 works submitted by dozens of Carnegie members. The exhibit also serves as an unofficial kickoff to the Carnegie's $200,000 lift-installation project that is intended to make the historic building handicap-accessible.

Because the building is considered a historic landmark — it was built at the turn of the 20th century as a public library with funds from billionaire philanthropist Andrew Carnegie — a number of preservation guidelines had to be considered by facility officials. After exploring several options, the decisions was made to pursue a lift that would be constructed on the back side of the building.

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