LITTLE FALLS -- A traveling exhibit sponsored by the Regional Arts Councils of Minnesota has failed to attract the public's attention during its stay in Little Falls.
"Art at Work," a major undertaking that features 35 "functional" pieces from Minnesota artists, opened Dec. 5 with a public reception in the Charles A. Weyerhaeuser Memorial Museum on Lindbergh Drive.
About 25 people attended the reception, but the exhibit has attracted only 10-15 viewers since then, said Mary Warner, spokeswoman for the Morrison County Historical Society, the local sponsor.
She blamed the lack of attendance on the Christmas season, an active (and competing) local social calendar, and disinterest among the area media.
"It's a really wonderful exhibit," Warner said this week, "but there are so many other things to do at Christmas time. The other thing is that the local press hasn't given us serious consideration because of other things going on."
The exhibit, which will eventually appear in 11 Minnesota communities, closes Dec. 28. So far, none of the pieces has been sold, Warner said.
A juried show, the exhibit was coordinated as a statewide touring event by Sandy Kaul, a Bemidji artist and gallery director.
"The exhibit celebrates excellence in craft by giving the citizens and communities throughout Minnesota access to the rich diversity of work by Minnesota artists making functional art," Kaul said in a recent news release.
"Visitors to this exhibit will have the opportunity to see witty, beautiful, fragile, colorful, inventive works though which the artists share their passion for their craft," she said.
Central Minnesota artists represented in the exhibit include ceramics artist Lana Johnson of Aitkin, fiber artists Patricia Black and Lonnie Knutson of Bemidji, and metal worker Linda Brown of Bemidji.
Sponsored by the regional arts councils -- each manages a share of tax-supported art grants to artists and organizations -- the exhibit opened in August in Fosston, followed by a month in Mora and another in New York Mills.
It will move to Worthington after it closes in Little Falls at the end of the month.
Warner said the historical society sponsored the exhibit's local presence because "we like to look for new things to bring into the museum periodically."
"So much of what we see (at the museum) was made for their utility and function," Warner added. "That's the connection (with history), having something useful while making it artistic. Historically, people did this, wanting to beautify the things they use."
The museum, 2151 Lindbergh Drive S., is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday. The exhibit is free.
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