Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Feed your body & feed your soul at weekend events October 8, 2021

An example of rosemaling from MODNordic Arts Studio in Faribault. Mother and daughter, Donna Johnson and Lyn Rein, create this Nordic art, which I photographed at the Valley Grove County Social in 2019. Minnesota Prairie Roots copyrighted file photo.

CHURCH DINNERS AND ART. I love both. And this weekend, I can indulge in each in my region of southern Minnesota.

The clay art of Faribault artist Tami Resler. Minnesota Prairie Roots copyrighted file photo March 2021.

The Studio ARTour of South Central Minnesota is already underway, kicking off from 4 – 8 pm today/Friday (at select studios) and continuing through Sunday. The annual event features 36 artists in 17 studios in the Faribault-Farmington-Northfield area.

It’s been awhile since I did this tour and I’m uncertain whether I can fit it in this year. But if you’re free and want to explore the arts at a grassroots level, then this is a must-do event.

Faribault artist Julie Fakler specializes in bold animal portraits. Minnesota Prairie Roots copyrighted file photo.

From jewelry-making to painting to textiles to photography to pottery to ceramics and more, this tour takes you into studios and/or art centers/spaces to meet the artists. To connect. To engage in conversation. To admire and purchase the work of these creatives.

Truly, talent abounds.

Just note that, with COVID-19 still running rampant, you need to mask up.

This year’s meal will be take-out only. In previous years, take-out was available. Minnesota Prairie Roots copyrighted file photo.

The pandemic has also affected the annual Fall Dinner at Trinity Lutheran Church, North Morristown. That’s the country church of July Fourth celebration fame. This year’s dinner will be take-out only, with meals delivered to vehicles. You’re encouraged to arrive early for the 11 am – 1 pm dinner on Sunday, October 10.

Diners pack the Trinity church basement during a past Fall Dinner. Minnesota Prairie Roots copyrighted file photo.

In a non-pandemic year, crowds gather in the sanctuary and then cram into the church basement for this popular meal of turkey, ham and all the trimmings. I’ve attended numerous times and will tell you this home-cooked dinner is beyond delicious. And it’s yours for only $10.

Some of the food served at Trinity’s Fall Dinner. There’s more. It didn’t all fit on my plate. Minnesota Prairie Roots copyrighted file photo.

There you go. If you’re looking for an escape into art and/or crave a meal that’s like Sunday dinner at Grandma’s house or Thanksgiving dinner, then take in both of these events. And, bonus, you’ll probably also see some incredible fall colors along the way.


Click here for more information (including a map of locations) about the Studio ARTour of South Central Minnesota. The tour runs from 10 am-6 pm Saturday, October 9, and from 10 am – 5 pm Sunday, October 10.

Click here for more info about the Fall Dinner at Trinity, North Morristown.

© Copyright 2021 Audrey Kletscher Helbling


Meet 29 artists during the South Central MN. Studio ArTour October 21, 2010

GIVE ME A COMPUTER and I can write.

Give me a paintbrush and I’d just sit there and dabble.

I’m a language artist, not a painter or potter or weaver or anyone who could designate herself as an authentic visual artist, although I do fine in photography.

But this weekend, if you travel to Rice County, where I live, you can meet 29 artists at 14 studios during the South Central Minnesota October Studio ArTour 2010.



Artist Julie Fakler will display domestic animal paintings like this at JMF Studio in Faribault.


From bling, beads and books to pottery, portraits and pastels, and lots more, you’ll discover a variety of art. For a sneak peek, visit southcentralartour.com. If you’re tight for time or interested in particular art forms, this Web site will help you choose which studios to visit.

If you’ve never ventured off Interstate 35 into the Faribault, Dundas or Northfield areas, the ArTour offers the ideal opportunity to drive back country roads and city streets and meet some of the artistic talent in our section of out-state Minnesota. Artwork will also be available for purchase.

If you’re from Rice County, find time to see what exists right here in your backyard. You don’t need to drive to the Cities to view, or buy, some great art.

The South Central Minnesota October Studio ArTour 2010 runs from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. Saturday, October 23, and Sunday, October 24.



One of 10 hand-quilted quilts that will be shown at JMF Studio.


© Copyright Audrey Kletscher Helbling 2010

Images courtesy of Julie Fakler, JMF Studio