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Lake Pepin restoration in the spotlight

A special art show will take place 7:30 p.m. Thursday at the Bogus Creek Cafe in Stockholm, Wis. “Seeing Sediment” will feature local and regional artists whose work is centrally themed on the environmental aspects of protecting and restoring Lake Pepin.

The show, organized by the Lake Pepin Legacy Alliance, will be a fundraiser to increase LPLA membership and increase awareness of the nonprofit’s work.

“Through ‘Seeing Sediment,’ Lake Pepin Legacy Alliance has started a partnership with artists to capture what we all cherish and hope to protect in Lake Pepin and its many facets of life along the Mississippi River,” said Anne Queenan, LPLA communications director.

Seeing sediment first hand

A conservation boat tour on an idyllic summer afternoon in June served the dual purpose to educate and inspire artists, organizers said. Departing from Ole Miss Marina in Red Wing, LPLA gathered 30 artists to cruise the headwaters of Lake Pepin and hear discussions led by Tim Schlagenhaft and Katie Burns of Audubon Minnesota, Mike Davis of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and LPLA Executive Director Rylee Main. The speakers explained how sediment reaches Lake Pepin and interacts with the complex local ecosystems of vegetation, fish, mussels and floodplain forests.

“This (art) show follows up on the interest and engagement these artists have on the health of Lake Pepin,” Queenan said.

Maris Gilbert, an artist based in Minneapolis, painted a series on the invasion of zebra mussels. “After the boat trip, I poured over images and did some reading about the mussels and invasive species,” Gilbert said. Originally from southern Florida, Gilbert began creating eco arts inspired by the Florida mangroves and their endangered marine ecosystems.

“I have all of my passions from south Florida, but I didn’t have a way to use it here. This boat trip made everything fall together for me,” Gilbert said. “Learning about these issues has inspired me to work on creating awareness.”

Red Wing artist Dan Weimer donated a piece to the show.

“I have enjoyed Lake Pepin immensely. I paint Lake Pepin from up high and I paint Lake Pepin from the shore and it is sad to see the loss of the habitat for the painter,” Weimer said. “The lake is so beautiful and I know it is silting in. If anything can be done to save it, help it, or maintain the beauty that it already has, we should all try our hardest.”

Raising funds and awareness

The public is welcome and invited to attend the art show fundraiser with the purchase of a $20 ticket, which includes a LPLA membership. Food, wine, live music and poetry will accompany the artwork.

“The show is the beginning of a travelling art exhibit, initially sponsored by the University of Minnesota’s Regional Sustainablity Development Partnership in southeast Minnesota,” Main said. “We’re grateful for the participation by these artists as they will help us build our membership and continue building new ways to partner with the communities to protect and restore Lake Pepin.”

For more information, visit the Lake Pepin Legacy Alliance page on Facebook.