For more than 30 years, Peace Lutheran Church has hosted a summer noon-time concert series. As I wrote about the weekly events, I wondered who would want to spend their lunch hour listening to music. My opinion changed when I took the time and attended a performance by country crooner Joe McPherson. I left feeling energized and uplifted. For 30 minutes, I was able to forget my day-to-day cares and just be in the moment.

Earlier this week, I needed a break. It was mid-day and I needed to clear my head with a change of scenery. Drawing on the positive experience of the noon concert, I wondered where I could go to capture similar feelings? Then it came to me — the Hutchinson Center for the Arts. What better place to escape deadlines than to immerse myself into the midst of an art exhibit.

Showing through Feb. 28 is the third annual Community Showcase. It features more than 100 pieces made by local artists.

"The exhibit has something for everyone from wood carving, mosaic, quilts, drawings, metal sculptures, drawings, paintings, pottery, airbrush, photography representing artists from late teens to early 90s," said Lisa Bergh, executive director of the art center. "The youngest artist has created a series of magical and somewhat terrifying monster sculptures and the oldest artist spent more than 800 hours creating a working whimsical carousel complete with music box, lights and individually carved characters."

Carousel

Don Rasmussen of Hutchinson entered a hand-carved wooden carousel that actually works. He’s been carving for more than 60 years.

I think we always want what we don't have. Honestly, I thought it would be wonderful to be able to sing or draw. Since I can't warble a note or draw a straight line with a ruler, I'm out of luck. It's probably for these reasons I admire these talents in others. 

Although no one was singing the day I visited the art center, the artwork spoke volumes. I can't say enough about our talented friends and neighbors. Wow! Just wow!

Don Rasmussen of Hutchinson drew plenty of fans with his hand-carved carousel. It's colorful and it's cool that it actually rotates. 

"Monsters" by Owen Kellen, Hutchinson

“Monsters” by Owen Kellen, Hutchinson

Corey Stearns, the 2020 recipient of the Wirt Award, displayed his talents with several clay pieces. He may earn his living as a businessman, but he's got the hands and heart of an artist.

I was quite taken by the painting "JuJu L'esprit" by Nina Rutled. It's captivating. I just loved it. 

Owen Kellen's monsters are definitely a "must see."

"The Red Wheelbarrow" by Sharon Rotz

“The Red Wheelbarrow” by Sharon Rotz, Litchfield, fiber

I can really go on and on because there are so many gems in this show. I encourage you to take the time and stop by. 

Bergh agreed.

"It's always a treat to experience as it always delivers a wide range of creative ideas from makers and creatives from all artistic backgrounds: self-taught crafters, those educated in the fine arts and a dazzling array of hobbyists and professional artists all on display in one place," she said. "Ultimately, I created this annual exhibit as a way to highlight how much we share in common, our need to communicate, share, understand and to explore curiosity."

The art center is our local hub for creativity. If you haven't been there, I encourage you to check it out. It's quiet and serene. Earth-tone colors and white panels provide a soothing backdrop for contemplation. 

"JuJu L'esprit" by Nina Rutledge

"JuJu L'esprit" by Nina Rutledge, Litchfield, oil on linen.

In the city of Hutchinson's recent branding meeting, the art center was mentioned as one of the things people loved about our town. I have to agree with them. It's a gift that keeps on giving.

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