Celebrating 3 years of the arts at the Austin ArtWorks Center

Published 7:01 am Sunday, March 12, 2017

The Austin ArtWorks Center will be celebrating a three-year anniversary this August. The space has accomplished many programming goals for the Austin Area Commission for the Arts since it opened in 2014.

One goal of the ArtWorks Center is to offer local artists a vehicle to sell their work to the public. Customers, from across the southeast Minnesota region and around the countrypurchase unique, handmade items in the retail space which generated over $60,000 in commissions for 109 artists in 2016. Most artists have ties to Austin and 70 percent live in Minnesota.

Among the top ten selling artists a wide variety of goods are offered: paintings (Stromlund, Wegner), blown glass (Fierce), jewelry (Rice, Weydert), pottery (Kline), wood (Blahnik) and stone (Kraft). The retail space is proud to offer original artwork at all price points, including the $5 hallway which serves those on a tight budget. Collage and mixed media artists who plan to repurpose works in the $5 hallway are some of the best customers.

Email newsletter signup

Another goal of the ArtWorks Center is to display fine art for the public which is done through eight second-floor gallery shows each year. Patrons of all ages can enjoy emerging and professional artists’ creations at no charge. The second floor also hosts ArtRocks Jam Sessions where musicians can grab an open mic and perform for their friends and family.

Arts education is another pillar of the ArtWorks Center. In 2016, 53 classes were offered to youth and adults. Class subjects offered a wide range of media including pottery, glass fusing, watercolor, acrylic painting, jewelry making, abstract art and polymer clay.

Starting in September 2016, the AACA was able to offer $5 Kids Studio classes on Saturday mornings with support from a Southeast Minnesota Arts Council grant. AACA members can also enjoy open studio during the Center’s operating hours and access our clay cavern and other spaces at no charge.

The ArtWorks Center also complements Austin Area Commission for the Arts programming at the Paramount Theatre and Austin ArtWorks Festival. The three program areas work together, sharing artists and patrons and helping bring the arts to life in our community.

To volunteer at the ArtWorks Center, contact Operations Manager Kelsey Ritchie at 507-434-0934.