Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Seeking a gallery venue for a 91-year-old Faribault artist April 10, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 10:56 AM

I HAD PLANNED an entirely different post for today. But then I read the obituaries in today’s Faribault Daily News.

I never knew Shirley Yule, the 91-year-old woman who died on Thursday. I do, however, know her 91-year-old husband.

Last fall I met Rhody Yule while returning to Faribault from a shopping trip to nearby Dundas. Rather than driving the usual and quickest route along a state highway, my husband and I follow some back, Rice County roads.

It is then that I discover Rhody. Well, I don’t exactly discover him initially. I discover his garage, which, on the front, is covered with 10 paintings of famous people like John Wayne, Mother Teresa and John F. Kennedy.

Portraits painted by Rhody Yule and hung on his garage in rural Rice County, Minnesota.

Now that catches my attention. To make a long story short, I knock on the house door and am welcomed inside by diminutive Rhody, who has painted the portraits and many, many more. You can read all about Rhody in a feature story that will publish in the May/June issue of Minnesota Moments magazine.

Rhody Yule moved from his rural Faribault home one week after I interviewed him and now lives with family in Hastings, Minnesota.

My interest in Rhody, though, extends beyond my writing. I am determined that this talented artist have his own art show. So about four months ago, I contact the local art center. I learn that, if Rhody is to do an exhibit, he must go through the process of submitting an application. And, I am told, the earliest art gallery opening isn’t until early 2011.

Even though I understand the necessity of procedure and rules, I am concerned because Rhody is, after all, 91 years old. Now, with the passing of Shirley, who had been in a nursing home after falling and breaking an elbow and hip, I am even more worried. All too often when one elderly spouse dies, the other soon follows.

So, as I write, ideas are already spinning through my head. Can I find an alternative location in Faribault for a Rhody Yule art show sometime within the next few months? I really want to keep the show in Faribault, where this man has lived and worked most of his life. A co-worker has volunteered to design promotional materials at no expense.

What do you think? Do you have any ideas?

© Copyright 2010 Audrey Kletscher Helbling