If you're an art enthusiast, one things to look forward to is the Hutchinson Center for the Arts exhibition schedule. You never know what you're going to see next. It can be a hometown favorite such as Curt Gander, or something completely new such as the large-scale sculptures of Jason Ramey.

The art center has developed a process for choosing its exhibitions. It starts with a call for exhibition proposals. Minnesota artists, age 18 or older, are welcome to submit an artist statement, resume and images by the deadline of April 30.

According to Lisa Bergh, executive director, the gallery at the art center focuses on presenting a range of artistic voices in all career stages throughout the year.

Lisa Bergh

Lisa Bergh is executive director of the Hutchinson Center for the Arts.

The 2020 exhibition season will feature:

  • December-Jan. 20: Shanda Landes, Mary Mulenberg, Mary Jo Schimelpfenig and Ellen Starr
  • February: Community Showcase 
  • April: Youth Art Exhibit
  • May-June: Encaustic photography and mixed media photographs by Su Legatt of Moorhead, and Kristi Link Fernholz of Appleton
  • June-July: A career retrospective exhibition of works by Joyce Young of Hutchinson
  • August-September: Ceramic objects by Mic Stowell of Minneapolis
  • September-October: A two-person show featuring installation artist Liz Miller of Good Thunder, and object maker and bead artist Chris Allen of Rochester
  • December-January: Emerging painter Amber Rahe of Mankato

Back by popular demand is the annual Youth Art Exhibit. The Community Showcase is also returning but this time around it's expanding its reach to all artists and makers living within the Southwest Minnesota Arts Council region — the 18 counties of southwest Minnesota. 

To learn more about the exhibit proposal process and next year's exhibit schedule, Bergh participated in this Leader Q&A.

The deadline to submit exhibition proposals for the 2020 Visual Arts Exhibition season was April 30. How many proposals did you receive?

We received almost 50, which is typical.

What do you look for in terms of putting together an exhibition season? How many exhibits do you choose? Do you have an idea before you start the review process of what you want?

Selecting shows is not easy. There are so many wonderful proposals and we only have so many slots with our active facility. We navigate the schedules of numerous local programming: the Spring theater rehearsals/performance, the youth art exhibit, the photo exhibit and the community showcase exhibition. That gives us time for about five exhibit slots from professional/emerging artists.

The point of the exhibition season is to show a variety of art ideas/mediums from a range of artists in all career stages from throughout Minnesota. So while every exhibit might not be for everyone, there is certainly an exhibit for everyone to enjoy.

Our mission is to broaden the art experiences of the community. The Visual Arts Exhibition series brings professional artists to this community from throughout Minnesota. We are fortunate to have a venue that can support this type of programming. The exhibits bring attention to our community regionally and attract both local and out-of-town audiences.

Were there any trends in terms of proposals you reviewed?

I am noticing a rich variety of artistic expression in the submissions and increasing interest in exhibiting at the art center.

Local art enthusiasts will be pleased to see a retrospective of Hutchinson artist Joyce Young is on the schedule. How did this exhibit come to be?

I was visiting with Joyce when she was exploring an exhibit on display at the center and I asked her to consider the idea. She was game. I am pleased to be able to share a lifetime of her works in our space. Our venue is designed to show both local and regional artists.

Are there any upcoming exhibits you're really excited about? If so, which one(s)?

I am excited about all the exhibits for different reasons. What I love most about this program is the ability to connect the community to artists they might not otherwise get to see. The artists exhibiting have varied and interesting careers. Some, like Liz Miller, have exhibited nationally for several decades, while others are just emerging as artists to watch. Again, we are quite fortunate to have a space that can accommodate the works and that the reputation of the center draws quality artists interested in presenting their work here. Having the reception and gallery talks makes the artists very accessible. It is a great opportunity for local artists to meet and network with other artists, and wonderful for art patrons to meet and connect with the artists on a personal level.

I know it's been one of your goals to introduce regional artists to the Hutchinson Center for the Arts' audience. Do you see that happening? What type of feedback have you received?

Feedback is always good. Visiting artists love the venue. Local residents enjoy the chance to see work in their own backyard that they would otherwise have to travel to. Tourists always share how interesting Hutchinson is and are pleased they came to see the exhibits, enjoy exploring downtown and catching a bite to eat. The center is proud to be part of serving the local community with unique programs and being part of the arts economy.

What have been the most popular exhibits at the Hutchinson Center for the Arts?

The youth art and community showcase exhibits are always popular, but the other exhibits garner their fair amount of attention, too.

Dates for exhibits are subject to change. 

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