Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Contrasts in art at the Owatonna Arts Center September 21, 2018

“It’s a Party!” yardage wall piece; both procion dyes and pigment paints all painted at the same time by Candy Kuehn.


I STOPPED AT THE OWATONNA ARTS CENTER specifically to view The Art of Friendship, an exhibit of Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Southern Minnesota. But I discovered also a second intriguing exhibit, Fabric Fascination by Minneapolis artist Candy Kuehn.


From the Big Brothers and Big Sisters exhibit, a simple drawing.


Kuehn’s “The Earth Winds,” nassen paste resist on silk charmeuse.


The two shows contrast—one a complex swirl of colors, the other much simpler in design.


Kuehn’s art extends into the OAC entry exhibit space.


One fills an entire gallery and down a hall to a second exhibit space.


The Big Brothers and Big Sisters artwork hangs in a hallway cove and around the corner along the hall.


The other tucks into and along a short hallway. Yet, whether the work of novices or a seasoned professional, whether many pieces or few, the art in each show deserves attention.


Garments and photo art created by Kuehn.


“Garden Plaid in Reds,” digitally-printed poly-chiffon by Kuehn drapes across a window, sunlight streaming through the print.


More of Kuehn’s art.


Kuehn, whose credentials include “a revered member and teacher at Minnesota’s Textile Center” and recipient of many awards in multiple art forms, impresses. As I meandered among the numerous pieces on display, I felt as if I was peering through a kaleidoscope of ever-shifting patterns and colors. The drape and seamless flow of fabric spoke poetry to me. I am not artistically knowledgeable enough to understand the processes of Kuehn’s work. But I see, enjoy and appreciate the creativity of an artist clearly passionate about creating art.


Yet more of Kuehn’s signature wearable art.


The public can learn more at a presentation and free (but must pre-register) Fascination workshop beginning at 2 p.m. on Sunday, September 23, at the Owatonna Arts Center. Attendees will transform plain headbands with decorative items.






Down the hall from Kuehn’s exhibit, the art of youth and their mentors highlights the Big Brothers/Big Sisters program. In the artwork, I see friendships forged, joy in bold colors, the authenticity of an artist in handprinted block letters. I especially like the featured quote: Art is everywhere—even in the simplest of friendships.


Fitting for the season, art from the Big Brothers/Big Sisters exhibit.


Art truly exists everywhere, if we choose to see it. And I, for one, see it—in simple lines drawn by a child, in complex patterns created by a professional artist and now, in this season of autumn, outdoors in the landscape of the land.

TELL ME: Where do you see art?

FYI: If you want to see these exhibits, stop at the OAC soon. They close on September 26 and 30.

© Copyright 2018 Audrey Kletscher Helbling


10 Responses to “Contrasts in art at the Owatonna Arts Center”

  1. treadlemusic Says:

    Kuehn’s garments in red are totally fabulous….as is that last picture—-am praying that we may be blessed with an Autumn that is rampant with color this year. This past Spring truly was a battle as Winter refused to release its grip and Summer sped by in the blink of an eye…..and here we are with weather more suitable for a much earlier time! Hugs….

  2. Beth Ann Says:

    Looks like a fun exhibit full of great art in a variety of forms. I see art everywhere just like you. 🙂

  3. There is art in everything I see from the natural to the created to the creative to the extreme. The beautiful rainbow last night to the gorgeous sky this morning with its reds and pinks. The building I work in is a work of art in itself and then with all the artwork on display from wood to glass to photography. Plus the big windows letting the natural light and landscape come inside throughout the day. Our pair of falcons paid a visit a few days ago and put on quite the aerial show. It is amazing the beauty you see when you do not have a phone in hand and are looking down. Happy Weekend – Enjoy 🙂

  4. Littlesundog Says:

    I am more of a person who enjoys simplicity. Kuehn’s work isn’t my cup of tea (as they say in the south), but I think mostly it’s because I am so rooted in nature. I really love that last image from the Big Brothers/Big Sisters exhibit. With so much flooding going on in the country, that painting really appeals to me.

  5. Missy's Crafty Mess Says:

    Beautiful artwork created by young and old a like. I especially enjoy seeing the creations of children

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