Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Appreciating the art & architecture of a business block in historic downtown Faribault August 31, 2018

A side view of an artsy window display at Fleur de Lis Gallery.


STOREFRONT WINDOWS ARE LIKE A CANVAS, a creative space that can cause passersby to pause, then perhaps step inside a business. Or at a minimum, to value the visual efforts of a shopkeeper.


A full front view of that Fleur de Lis window art.


Historic buildings reflect in the front window of Ruf Acres Market, one of Faribault’s newest businesses. Ruf Acres won the 2017 Downtown Faribault Business Challenge to launch new businesses.


A colorful flier promotes Pawn MN.


During a brief walk in the 200 block of Central Avenue in historic downtown Faribault on a recent Sunday afternoon, I discovered visual delights in window displays, splashes of color, wordage, architecture and more.


Nona has created this eye-catching Wash Day window displace at Keepers Antiques.


I appreciate the efforts of local shopkeepers to create window art that enhances our downtown.


In the window of Ruf Acres Market, egg cartons promote eggs from Graise Farm in rural Faribault.


Mallory of Grit & Grace uses a Rolling Stones quote to draw people into her new Faribault shop of merchandise and much more.


At The Upper East Side, Suzanne offers guests the option of painting totes and more. Love this artsy Faribault tote made at the sip and paint shop.


I appreciate those who value and promote local.


Ruf Acres signage highlights historic Faribault.


Markers like this tag historic buildings throughout downtown Faribault.


Historic architecture reflected in the window of a van.


I appreciate, too, those who long ago decided our historic buildings were worth saving. “You have a beautiful downtown,” a woman from Jackson noted to me as she and her friend explored Central Avenue while I shot photos. I welcomed them, invited them to return when shops are open.



I appreciate also the energy and enthusiasm of shopkeepers like Jessica at Fleur de Lis Gallery and Suzanne at The Upper East Side. Both possess a passion for art that adds to the growing art presence in my community.



A close-up of that Wash Day window display at Keepers Antiques with historic buildings reflected in the glass.


Fette Electronics is a long-time business in downtown Faribault.


From the Paradise Center for the Arts to local shops to new public art installations to historic murals, this southeastern Minnesota city is stretching its creativity and emerging as a place for the arts. For that I am grateful.


A section of the 200 block of Central Avenue in the business district of historic downtown Faribault.


It is through the lens of art—whether visual, literary or performing—that we see beauty in a place. And today that place is Faribault.


FYI: Check back for a close-up look at The Upper East Side, a paint and sip business and more.

© Copyright 2018 Audrey Kletscher Helbling


15 Responses to “Appreciating the art & architecture of a business block in historic downtown Faribault”

  1. Jackie Says:

    Love all your photo’s. You really have to be willing to stop and take it all in dont you. I get that ! There is so much to see all around us, your post is witness to that. You know Audrey that I absolutely love the Wash day window. It brought a smile to my face. Your downtown is beautiful, thanks for sharing it!

    • I knew you especially would appreciate the Wash Day window display. Nona also has a really colorful Halloween display inside. I didn’t have my camera with me when I saw that and her shop wasn’t open the afternoon I photographed the window. Her creativity shines in her shop.

  2. valeriebollinger Says:

    Fun photos Audrey. I will pay attention to more of our storefronts in Northfield.
    There is a store, The Rare Pair, that has creative window displays. We look forward to seeing them and waiting with anticipation for the next one.

  3. Bernadette Says:

    I wish I was shopping in Faribault right now. When we were growing up on a farm south of Owatonna in the 50s and 60s, a shopping trip to Faribault — often to get fabric for 4-H sewing projects — was beyond special. It looks like it still is. Loved your photos. Thanks for the virtual shopping trip.

  4. Sandra Van Erp Says:

    Garter belts!!! Definitely not the Main St we used to drive in circles on Friday nights. I am also SO glad for the Heritage Commission’s work and the town council. Shopping centers come and go and although it’s taken a long time, what a canvas for shoppers, tourists and merchants. Great job sharing! Thanks!

  5. treadlemusic Says:

    LUV the Fleur de Lis Gallery window!!! Isn’t looking at the world with “fresh eyes” exciting??? Like a wee one who spies his first firefly!!!! No words! Thank you for sharing………..hugs………….

  6. Sue Ready Says:

    I never thought of a store window as a canvas you have a keen eye for detail best one is the antiques store front does this posting mean you can hold a camera now?

  7. Missy's Crafty Mess Says:

    Once again you have managed to beautifully capture the architecture but my favorite is the wash day set up!

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