Stacy Bengs has been a photojournalist at the Red Wing Republican Eagle since 2010. She holds a bachelors degree in journalism and art from the University of Minnesota.
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Based on a simple goal, "to provide access to the arts for everyone," Red Wing's ArtReach is soaring higher than ever. "The kids are just so proud of themselves," said Benjie Achen, as she smiles and her eyes dart around the collage of framed artworks that smother the walls in the organization's colorful space tucked off Bush Street.
Red Wing Art Association's most popular event, the Fall Festival of the Arts, is held each October during the peak fall color season. The 2012 festival is set for Saturday Oct. 13 to Sunday Oct. 14. It attracts thousands of visitors. This juried art festival brings more than 90 artists to historic downtown to sell their creations. "There are obvious reasons for this influx of visitors," said Fall Festival coordinator Deb Wasmund.
Just shy of a month into the school year, Red Wing High School students are putting the final touches on the fall play "Alice in Wonderland." The production is loosely based on the 1865 children's novel written by Lewis Carroll. Kirk Buis adapted the play for modern day - making it appropriate for children by eliminating some storyline to cut down on time, while creating some great characters that engage audiences for any generation, says director Sean Dowse.
Classic big band sound used to be a quintessential part of American culture - over 100 years ago. The John Philip Sousa Memorial Band has devoted their entire longevity to preserving that nostalgic sound. The band will be returning for their 17th consecutive year at the Sheldon Theatre, Saturday Sept. 15. "The concerts we play at the Sheldon are different every year," said Sousa director Scott Crosbie.
Writing to preserve American history on the pioneer front, Laura Ingalls Wilder may have had no idea the outcome of her tales of the lost era. Her successful series "Little House" among others have been translated into more than 40 languages worldwide. Readers of all ages still enjoy Wilder's tales of a family's simple joy and elemental struggle as they work together to build a life on the frontier. To honor the author and her birthplace, Pepin holds Laura Ingalls Wilder Days. The two-day celebration is jam-packed with events, stories, demonstrations and history.
When Tricia Back met Amy Stanton while on the job, she really wanted nothing to do with her. "I was not looking to making friends," Back said, "and she was a bubbly person so I avoided her like a plague." The two women work as self-proclaimed whistle-wearing "recess ladies" at an elementary school in Cottage Grove. "I have a guitar charm on a necklace that I also wear," Back added. Once Stanton noticed that piece of jewelry, the door to a new relationship was soon opened. "She asked me, 'Do you want to jam?'" Back laughed. "I thought she was the biggest dork in the world ...
How do you express yourself? If you're still trying to think of answer, maybe it is time try an artistic approach to learning something new about the wide world of art -- and maybe yourself. Sprinkled throughout the region are fall workshops and classes offering an eclectic taste of bold flavors. "You're never too young or too old to be creative and learn a new skill." Crossings at Carnegie director Marie Marvin said.
A bus trip to Nashville combined with a shared love for Minnesota has created the opportunity to experience one of the country music city's No. 1 shows live from Cannon Falls. The Shepherd's Center of Cannon Valley is presenting "The Tim Watson Show" at 7 p.m. Saturday Aug. 18 at the Cannon Falls High School Auditorium. The concert's conception was masterminded by Rod Johnson. "The center led a tour to Nashville in last November, where we went to a number of shows. One of the shows we went to was head and shoulders above any we had seen, including the Grand Ol' Opry.
When Cole Jacobson heard his next assignment from art teacher Kristin Bray, he didn't quite understand the concept of the project. After a brief explanation, the creative wheels in Jacobson's head started to spin. The assignment's theme was "Youth as a Catalyst for Change" and was not only meant for art students at the Red Wing High School. Jacobson and fellow classmates had been given the opportunity to take part in the Sister Cities International Art Contest -- a worldwide competition challenging youths through a variety of visual media, poetry and essays.
"Come sail away, come sail away, come sail away with me..." Cue the air guitar as the bombastic ballad plays through your head. The 1977 Styx song hints at your next activity to add to the growing list of local adventures. Lake Pepin offers much more than just a priceless view of beauty, relief from the heat, fishing haven or even the birthplace of waterskiing. If you really want to experience the sheer power, depth and life of the lake while tuning in to your surroundings, it's time to try sailing.