Art workshops bring out creativity

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Scott Boylen recently took advantage of a clay workshop at McGregor’s Left Bank Shop and Gallery. Additional classes will be offered nearly every Saturday from now until early March. (Photo by Audrey Posten)

Finding the wonder in winter: Part 4

Who said there’s nothing to do in northeast Iowa during the winter? Well, we’re not buying it. Over the coming weeks, the North Iowa Times will continue to feature some of the fun, healthy and educational activities area residents can enjoy during the colder months.

By Audrey Posten, North Iowa Times

Unleash creativity you may not have exercised since childhood at one of the winter art workshops offered by the McGregor-Marquette Center for the Arts (MMCA). The classes will be held at The Left Bank Shop and Gallery, in McGregor, nearly every Saturday from now until early March.

“We’re a lot more than just a retail gallery,” remarked MMCA Board President Sandy Stevens. “Our goal is to bring art to the community. There’s perfect space here to do that.”

The MMCA began its winter workshops in 2015. Those first classes were devoted to ceramics, but offerings have since expanded to a variety of mediums, such as painting, basket weaving and wool felting.

Each workshop is led by one of The Left Bank’s exhibiting artists, some of whom were, or still are, art instructors. Classes typically last three hours, although some skills take longer. Attendees will be able to complete a project in the allotted time.

All classes are suitable for teens or adults, Stevens said, “and they’re formatted so that you can come in at the beginner level or as an experienced artist.”

“There’s always something new to learn,” she quipped.

Instructors will guide participants step-by-step through their projects. Improvisation is encouraged, though. And this year, for the first time, The Left Bank is open through the winter, so students can use the exhibited artwork as inspiration.

“You can put your own spin on it,” said Stevens. “Everyone is excited about what they end up with, and we get a lot of repeat students.”

Workshops are offered at a minimal cost, with materials included.

“We now have a kiln and two potter’s wheels,” for clay projects, Stevens shared, “and we’re continuing to increase other supplies.”

“It’s nice that you can just show up and learn a new skill and not have to purchase anything,” she added.

The MMCA will continue its multi-part clay workshop this weekend, as Judy Carlson helps attendees create love mugs and heart charms that will make perfect Valentine’s Day gifts.

On Feb. 8, Sally Marshall of Prairie du Chien will teach acrylic painting on canvas, with a theme centering on flowers. The class will run from 9 a.m. to noon.

Margaret Stone from Elkader is well known for her basket craftsmanship. On Feb. 22, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., she will guide the class in creating a wall pouch basket with holly embellishment.

Postville’s DeeAnna Weed will teach a class on wool felting Saturday, Feb. 29, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. You will have the choice of creating a bowl, table mat or wall hanging under her expert guidance.

The last session of the year is a new one. On March 7, Harold Rosauer will teach carved feather painting from 9 a.m to noon. He will provide each student with an intricately carved peacock feather, then guide them through the multistep process of painting it.

Stevens said the MMCA hopes to continue offering new classes and encouraging people to take advantage of the activities in their own communities. Between the offerings at the art center, as well as those at nearby McGregor Mercantile and places like The Planted Tree and The Pickett Fence in Prairie du Chien, she noted that art classes in the area are booming. People are no longer content just to buy a piece of art.

“They want to be involved in the process,” Stevens shared. “They want to make it and learn something new.”

Want to know more? Class sizes are limited, so don’t delay in signing up. Check out and click on classes and workshops for fees and additional information, or call (319) 404-4148. Registration forms are also available at the Left Bank Shop and Gallery or can be downloaded from the website. The gallery is now open Fridays through Sundays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

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