A Diamond in the Rough

Have you ever stumbled across something–a place, an object—something you weren’t expecting to find, that just wowed you–a hidden gem of sorts?  My sweetie and I found one of these gems a few days after we were wed.

We only had a few short days for a mini-honeymoon (we are hoping to make a big trip later this year!) so we drove north, to Red Wing, MN.  The day after we arrived, it was cold and damp (we actually saw snowflakes–in MAY!).  We decided to visit Tower View, an estate built in the early 1900s that now serves as an Artist Residency Program, an alternative high school, an art center, and local meeting space rental. 

The original buildings are amazing… and the sculptures in the garden are wonderful.  The horse above was my favorite; we didn’t walk the entire sculpture garden, as it was just too cold.   Loved this bench, The Courting Bench by Marcia McEachron:

But the true gem?  They have a permanent art collection, which we would not have even seen, if one of the resident artists hadn’t seen us wandering the halls gawking at the photography exhibit that was hanging, and asked “would you like to see our permanent collection, I can go unlock it for you?”  Umm… “yes, please!”  I had no idea…

There were prints by Pablo Picasso, Alexander Calder, Marc Chagall, Willem de Kooning….

Andy Warhol

Man Ray….

and Henri Matisse… just to name a few.

And these are just the pieces I could get a half-way presentable photograph of.  Mostly prints and etching, some sculpture, Calder mobiles… very important works from the 20th century art world.  I have a Master’s Degree in Art History and Museum Studies, so naturally, I was thrilled with this discovery.  My sweetie doesn’t share the same knowledge of these artists, but he was equally blown away that these were just there for the viewing in the basement of this art center in semi-rural Minnesota.  Let this be a lesson to all who scoff at the Midwest and make fun of Minnesota and Iowa (and places like our’s)…you should never judge a book by its cover, or a place by it’s geographic location.   

I leave you with two of my favorite finds of the day, Marc Chagall’s Psalm I

and his beautiful Green Bird

I felt very inspired to go home and create after this discovery…


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