The Free Press, Mankato, MN

January 23, 2014

PLRAC grantee exhibit on display at Arts Center of St. Peter

PLRAC grantee exhibit on display at Arts Center of St. Peter

By Edie Schmierbach

---- — ST. PETER — Prairie Lakes Regional Arts Council's fourth annual Artist Grantee Exhibition at the Arts Center of St. Peter features works created during projects funded two years ago. The visual artists represented are among the 15 people from throughout Prairie Lake's region who were awarded $1,000 grants during the 2012 round of Emerging Artist grants.

PLRAC, which serves a nine-county area in south central Minnesota, provides grants and programs for the development of local artists, arts organizations and art audiences. The council administers several grant programs with funds appropriated by the Minnesota State Legislature and the McKnight Foundation. The McKnight Foundation in Minneapolis provides funding for PLRAC's emerging artist program.

Visuals artists represented in the show include Gregory Euclide of Le Sueur, whose mixed media works were featured last month in the Arts Center's main gallery. Judith Forster-Monson of Le Center has four acrylic paintings in the PLRAC show. More of her amusing images of people and their pets are on display in the restaurant area of St. Peter Food Coop.

Oil works on display are landscapes created by Margaret Larson of Mankato during a workshop in Arizona, and paintings of farm animals, flowers and produce by Malia Wiley of St. Peter.

Kristin Harsma of Mankato is showing her stained-glass abstract pieces. Nicole Larish Volk of Waterville used dyed silk, Batiked cotton and rice paper for the four pieces she is displaying.

Steve Wilson of North Mankato photographs of cell phone users are on display in the lower-level space. Photos by Wilson were part of a 2012 show at the Carnegie Art Center.

Writers who received 2012 grants include Meredith Cook of Blue Earth, who attended a national convention of poets in Indiana.

During a Saturday afternoon showcase, the poetess read some her works and grantee-musicians Nick Burris of New Ulm, Ben Marti of Mankato and Lehi Gertz of New Ulm presented musical performances. Sandra Newbauer of Mankato read from her young adult fiction manuscript, "Summer of the Barenakeds" and a small acting troupe presented a comedy by playwright Joeleen Osborn Krier of Madelia.

“For the grants they’ve received, the artists have already had to do a public presentation,” PLRAC Executive Director Brenda Byron noted in press released. “But this gave them the chance to present together and we were able to feature those artists that are also performers.”

PLRAC began awarding individual artist grants in 1992 when five artists were each awarded $500 project grants. The program has developed over the years and the amount and number of grants has increased based on funding from the McKnight Foundation. its board members represent the counties of Blue Earth, Brown, Faribault, Le Sueur, Martin, Nicollet, Sibley, Waseca and Watonwan; and the cities of Mankato, Fairmont, New Ulm, North Mankato and St. Peter.

This year, PLRAC will continue to award several Emerging Artist grants as well as fellowship grants of $3,000 each. For more information, visit

If you go What PLRAC/McKnight Artist Grantee Exhibit When On display through Feb. 23 Where Arts Center of St. Peter, 315 S. Minnesota Ave. Gallery hours 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesdays-Fridays and 1-5 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays