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Red Wing Arts takes fresh approach to Fall Fest

Emma Eggenberger created a rainbow image for her kite during the Anderson Center Summer Celebration of the Arts. 1 / 2
Local artist and Red Wing Arts Board member Maggie Paynter added a “poppy” of color to a kite. Her contributor and others will "fly" before the public Oct. 13-14 during the Red Wing Arts Fall Festival. Photo by Chap Achen 2 / 2

Red Wing Arts' Fall Festival may be 52 years old, but the arts group is approaching this year's outdoor art show with fresh eyes and a youthful attitude.

People who come downtown will see signs of the new look in the weeks leading up to the Oct. 13-14 festival. About 100 hand-decorated kites will be strung along Third and "We wanted something unique to reflect the arts," Executive Director Emily Guida Foos said. Several years ago the arts group had children paint umbrellas. Plastic kites decorated with permanent markers are this year's project.

Young people, artists and residents who attended summer and fall events at the Anderson Center and the Depot Gallery were invited to create their own colorful designs for the project.

RELATED: Collaboration key to 'new' festival events

The desire for inclusiveness also involved reaching out to young people to participate in a new event, a Youth Art Fair.

Artwork of all types created by young people ages 12 to 18 will be featured in the youth tent, which will be located on Bush Street between Third and Fourth streets.

The young artists will be present during the fair to talk about and share their work. A workshop was held to teach them basic skills such as framing, displaying and pricing their work, plus how to interact with prospective buyers.

"We've had young people entering shows," Foos said. "They love participating in the student art show," but their opportunities have been limited.

"We want to be an organization that facilitates and supports the growth of artists."

In addition, a sticker system will be used this year that enables young people to have a voice by indicating their favorite artist booths.

Efforts to engage a broader base in the community were sparked in part by a survey conducted at the 2017 Fall Festival. Conducted by the University of Minnesota, the survey showed that the typical attendee was a white female, 50 or older, with a median income.

The weekend crowd was estimated at nearly 16,000. About 60 percent of people who participated in the survey were local residents, while 40 percent were from surrounding communities.

"We needed to do something different," Foos said, "because we were not reaching everybody in the community."

In particular, Red Wing Arts wants to expand to include families, to offer activities and entertainment, to involve young people and engage the public in a variety of ways.

Nonprofits will have nine booths that offer a variety of interactive opportunities.

"Collaboration with other nonprofits and art organizations has been our focus," Foos said, because it strengthens community and promotes growth.

ArtReach will offer paint your own tote bags; the city of Red Wing will have leaf rubbing; Pottery Museum of Red Wing will have tile painting; Downtown Mainstreet will highlight the new decorating banners on Main Street; plus there will be balloon artists and face painting/henna artists. Authors will do readings at Fair Trade Books.

Also, the Goodhue County Historical Society and the Anderson Center are collaborating on a public art tour, and the Sheldon Theatre will be showing free silent films on Sunday.

Musical entertainment also will offer new options, Foos said, citing a SoundStrings ensemble, a Universal Music Center performance and the Red Wing High School Jazz Band, along with some rock, folk and Big Band for all ages.

The Fall Festival runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Oct. 13 and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Oct. 14 on Third and Bush streets downtown. Admission is free. For more information, call 651-388-7569 or go online to