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Main Street past, present, future: Arts group presents exhibit, walking tour, light show

Ceri Everett’s view from Bay Point Park toward Red Wing’s riverfront is among images submitted to Red Wing Arts for the local Main Street project, which will begin April 27.

Images of Red Wing — cellphone snapshots as well as artist-made creations and historical photographs — are the focus of Red Wing Arts' participation in "Meet Me on Main." Three linked activities will launch on April 27.

For the first time, the arts group is using social media to gather images that will be projected on the walls of the Sheldon Theatre and Red Wing Public Library as the day's finale.

People are submitting their photos via Facebook, email and other Internet platforms.

READ MORE: Community invited to 'Meet Me on Main'

"We're trying to engage the community and people who typically do not feel comfortable submitting to an art show," said Lacy Schumann, director of operations for Red Wing Arts.

"We want people to know that they can participate with us and they don't have to be 'artists' to do so. It's our goal for the citizens to know that we are here, and are welcoming."

Schumann is optimistic that using a hashtag to enable a search for the images will appeal to a younger generation.

The response has been wonderful, she said. People who may never have visited the Depot Gallery have submitted photos. "They are engaging with us and we are hoping to build on that relationship."

Red Wing Arts has received about 300 images that illustrate what Main Street looks like to different people. There is still time to take a picture on your smart phone and send it to Red Wing Arts via e-mail (info@redwingarts.org) or social media (#redwingmainstreet). The deadline is April 24.

"It's not just the one street, Main Street," Schumann said. Photos also may depict other parts of downtown, Old West Main Street or other scenes that represent community, she added — "where you socialize, purchase things, go out to eat."

Early submissions included views of Barn Bluff, the Holiday Stroll, people's faces, festivals and more. "It's not all buildings; it's a blend of objects and places," she said.

Red Wing Arts has been gathering a broad variety of images of Main Street — the way it looked in the past as well as the different ways people see it today. Historic photos are being provided by the Goodhue County Historical Society.

In addition to photos for the projection show, the arts group also has gathered original works for a more traditional exhibition at the Depot Gallery. It also is organizing a walking tour to see images displayed in the windows of downtown shops.

The three activities planned for April 27 begin with an opening reception for a new exhibit, "My Mainstreet," from 5:30-8 p.m. in the Vogel Gallery at the Depot.

Artists submitted their views as they Main Street as a subject or as inspiration, using a variety of two- and three-dimensional techniques. A second new exhibit, "The Art of the Shoe," will be on view in the Veeder Gallery. It's all about one Main Street business, From the depot, people will be encouraged to walk up Bush Street and along Third Street to the Sheldon Theatre. A map will be provided, showing which storefronts en route will have window displays of Main Street photos. About 10 sites are anticipated including one indoor display at the St. James Hotel.

People who are attending the Arena Dances performance of "The Main Street Project" at the Sheldon Theatre will want to arrive there by showtime, 7:30 p.m.

Everyone will want to be outside the Sheldon to watch "My Main Street in Lights" from 8:30-10:30 p.m. The projection show is a free, family-friendly event open to everyone.

En route to the Sheldon people also may want to stop at ArtReach, which will open its doors from 4-8 p.m. at its new location, 436 W. Third St., across from the Sheldon. Director Anna Ostendorf invites everyone to join in creating a community mosaic project or a collaborative painting.

For the final Red Wing Arts activity at 8:30 p.m., hundreds of oversized images will projected on the front of the Sheldon and the library, just across the street. Jim Gustafson of InHouse Media is handling the projections.

The images will be on a loop so the picture changes every few seconds. Some photos that also are part of the Arena Dances stage show will be included in the loop.

Historical images of downtown will be incorporated into all three Red Wing Arts events, officials noted. A large monitor on the street between the theater and the library will scroll images of the historic photos so people can get a closer look at the vintage pictures.

Afton Esson, archives and library manager at the history center, is preparing multiple images for the depot exhibit, the window displays and the projection show. Many of the pictures are from the Phil Revoir Collection.

"It's going to be a contrast of old versus new Red Wing Main Street," Schumann said.

"This allows a story to be told about Red Wing," interim arts director Emily Guida Foos said — "a visual story about the city's growth and development."

The arts events are supported by grants from Southeastern Minnesota Arts Council and the Wings Fund.

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