The Brainerd Area Art Club isn't taking any chances on the weather during this year's second annual "tent sale."
Heavy winds drove last year's inaugural event into the protective confines of the Crow Wing County Historical Museum. And that's where it will stay, said Lynda Converse, club president.
"Last year was our first tent sale and it was almost a disaster," she said in an interview this week. "We planned it as an outdoor event but the winds forced us to move it inside. People came looking for a tent and there was nothing set up."
So this year, the event is billed as a "non-tent tent sale," which is expected to attract about 50 to 75 participating artists and more than 400 shoppers to the downtown Brainerd museum June 16.
This wood turning piece is by Tom Larson. It will be part of the Brainerd Area Art Club's annual Spring Expos at the Crow Wing County Historical Museum.
The sale marks the final-day highlight of the club's eighth annual Spring Expos, which opens Saturday with a "meet-the-artists-tea-party" from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the museum.
Thirty-six artists -- most of them club members -- have contributed 72 pieces in seven categories for the exhibit.
Cash prizes will be awarded to a first- and second-place winner in each category, as well as to the ribbon winners of people's choice and best of show awards, Converse said.
The show -- installed over the weekend -- already has been judged by Bela Petheo, a prominent Minnesota oil painter and former St. John's University art professor.
This watercolor is by Pam Collins.
The winners, however, will not be identified until a club-sponsored banquet at 5 p.m. June 16, in the interest of not influencing the outcome of the people's choice award.
Exhibit visitors will be asked to vote for their favorite pieces throughout the course of the show. Petheo will return June 16 for individual artist critiques, as well as to announce the category winners.
The closing day banquet and award ceremony, tentatively scheduled for the Front Street Caf in downtown Brainerd, is open to participating artists and the public, for the price of a meal.
The club, which boasts 46 active members, sponsors the annual exhibit "to inform the community of the artistic abilities in the area," said Converse, a landscape painter who draws much of her inspiration from her Browerville area farm.
"The Spring Expos helps make the artists more recognized and it's a good marketing device," she added.
Most pieces in the exhibit will be for sale, but all will remain in the exhibit until it closes, she said. The "non-tent tent sale" will expand to accommodate many other artists not participating in the expos.
Last year's exhibit attracted about 130 viewers during its monthlong run, with an additional 400 attending the indoor "tent sale," Converse said.
The nonprofit club raises funds from the expos and sale for its scholarship program. Artists are charged entry fees for participating in the expos and sale, as well as a 20 percent commission for sales, Converse said.
Prices for the works can range from a few dollars to $1,500, but most fall within the $200-$300 range, she said.
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